When Twins first baseman Justin Morneau bowed out of next week’s All-Star game due to a mild concussion, many Red Sox fans were hoping that Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis would be named as his replacement.
After all, Youk finished a close second on MLB’s “Final Vote” ballot to Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher and is plenty deserving of an All-Star nod given the fact that his 987 OPS ranks fifth-best among all major leaguers and his 18 homers and 57 RBI also stand near the top of the league.
Red Sox Nation is up in arms tonight, as White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was selected to take Morneau’s spot instead. This according to an MLB.com press release.
Konerko is having a heck of a season, with a .299/.382/.560 batting line, 20 home runs and 63 RBI through 291 at-bats. He has been a big part of the White Sox’s resurgence in the American League Central and there’s little doubt that he is also deserving of an All-Star nod.
But the fact is Youkilis has been better, and his versatility on the infield might have proven helpful in the later innings of Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic. Did Yanks skipper Joe Girardi, who is managing the American League squad on Tuesday, snub the Red Sox first baseman on purpose? Or is he simply a fan of more traditional statistics, like the home run and RBI? We’re thinking the latter, but, either way, selecting Konerko over Youk was probably a misguided move for the sake of that whole “This One Counts” nonsense.
Setting their rotation for the beginning of the ALDS versus the Blue Jays, the Rangers announced that right-hander Yovani Gallardo will start Game 1 and left-hander Cole Hamels will start Game 2.
Gallardo posted a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts this season, but averaged just 5.6 innings per start and hasn’t completed six or more innings in a start since mid-August. Clearly the Rangers will be hoping for five or six innings from him before turning it over to the bullpen.
Hamels, on the other hand, averaged seven innings in his 12 post-trade starts for the Rangers, including tossing a complete-game against the Angels in the regular season finale. He’s obviously the Rangers’ best starting pitcher, but because Hamels was needed to clinch the division title in Game 162 he’s not available to start Game 1 of the playoffs.
In the seemingly never-ending trend of front office officials getting new titles, the Cleveland Indians just announced that General Manager Chris Antonetti has been promoted to President of Baseball Operations and Mike Chernoff is now the GM.
Antonetti has been the Tribe’s GM for the past five years and is moving up in the wake of team president Mark Shapiro moving on to Toronto. Shapiro, however, also held business side responsibilities which Antonetti will not assume. Meaning, as before, he will be the top guy on baseball ops decisions, albeit with a grander title.
Chernoff has been an assistant GM for five years and has been with the organization for the past 12 years. As many new GMs these days he will, functionally speaking, still be an assistant when it comes to baseball decisions.