Adam Dunn

The 2011 un-All-Star team


MLB sent 66 players to Phoenix today. Here’s 58 who can head to Siberia instead. Presenting your un-All-Stars.

(I won’t be taking salaries or expectations into account. Playing time, however, will be a big factor. Basically, I’m looking for the guys who have done the most harm this year.)

AL: Jeff Mathis, John Jaso
NL: Josh Thole, Rod Barajas

There haven’t been any truly horrible everyday catchers this year, if only because Mike Scioscia has split time between Mathis and Hank Conger pretty evenly. Barajas may have eight homers for the Dodgers, but it comes with a .261 OBP, plus he’s just 4-for-44 with RISP.

First Base
AL: Daric Barton, Derrek Lee
NL: Lyle Overbay, James Loney

Barton hit .212 with no homers in 236 at-bats before the A’s were finally forced to send him down at the end of last month. Loney has been hot lately and has his average all of the way up to .271, but he’s driven in a total of 28 runs in 295 at-bats despite hitting fifth and sixth all year.

Second Base
AL: Aaron Hill, Ryan Raburn
NL: Dan Uggla, Bill Hall, Jose Lopez

At least Hill can still pick it at second base, unlike the rest of the dreck here. However, he’s hit .239/.281/.332 with just three homers in 259 at-bats. Uggla has had 135 at-bats with runners on base this season, and he’s driven in just 17 Braves besides himself (he has 12 homers and 29 RBI).

Third Base
AL: Chone Figgins, Brandon Inge
NL: Casey McGehee, Chris Johnson

If these two teams actually were to get together for an un-All-Star Game, I think there should be a reentry rule so that Figgins can start, get pulled and then later return for round two.

AL: Reid Brignac, Cliff Pennington, Matt Tolbert
NL: Miguel Tejada, Yuniesky Betancourt

It’s a pretty good year for AL shortstops that Pennington is the second worse. Still, he’s been a disappointment both offensively and defensively after a 2010 season in which he was arguably the AL’s best shortstop (in a much weaker class).

I had to throw Tolbert in here. He’s mediocre defensively, he doesn’t hit and he doesn’t steal bases, yet he may well get 250 at-bats for the Twins.

AL: Juan Pierre, Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, Rajai Davis, Magglio Ordonez
NL: Chris Coghlan, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, Carlos Lee, Nate McLouth

Pierre has gotten hot at the plate and improved to .262/.320/.311 for the season, but he has the worst defensive numbers of any AL outfielder. Davis has been another big disappointment with the glove, and he’s getting on base just 25 percent of the time for the Jays.

Give National League teams credit: there haven’t been any truly atrocious outfielders playing regularly in the circuit this year. Maybe Ibanez qualifies if one puts total faith in his terrible defensive numbers, but he’s the only one. Even Coghlan, who was struggling to master center field after moving over from left, was only a liability against southpaws before getting sent down.

Designated Hitter
AL: Adam Dunn

Well, that was a no-brainer. 1-for-53 against left-handers.

Starting Pitchers
AL: Fausto Carmona, Kyle Drabek, Kyle Davies, John Lackey, Luke Hochevar
NL: J.A. Happ, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Pelfrey, Travis Wood, Brett Myers, Chris Volstad

The lone thing stopping Davies from becoming the AL’s ace is some missed time with a sore shoulder.  He’s joined here by his teammate Hochevar. Another pair of Royals starters, Sean O’Sullivan and Jeff Francis, didn’t miss the cut by much.

Two Astros and two Reds here. Like the Royals, I just had to go with a six-man rotation for the NL squad. I couldn’t let that talent go to waste.

AL: Mike Gonzalez, Frank Francisco, Ryan Perry, Joe Nathan, Bobby Jenks, Andy Sonnanstine, Daniel Schlereth
NL: Ryan Franklin, Brandon Lyon, John Grabow, Danys Baez, Aaron Heilman, Fernando Abad

It looks like Nathan is turning the corner now, but since he was at 7.63 before going on the DL, he has a lot of work to do to make his ERA respectable again.

Franklin’s ERA stood at 8.46 before he was cut by the Cardinals. Still, that pales in comparison to Lyon’s 11.48 mark. He’s done for the season after shoulder surgery.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds
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Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.

While we wait for free agent signings: Andrew McCutchen stars in a one-act play

Andrew McCutchen
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It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.

So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts:

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty

Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.