But… I was assured this was a new phenomenon caused by greedy baseball players making tens of millions of dollars per year. Surely no one turned down All-Star appearances 25 years ago.
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, who ranks right up there with Tim Salmon among the best players to never go to an All-Star Game, told MLB.com that he twice turned down the chance to go the Midsummer Classic as a reserve.
In 1985, he went so far as to decline the invite from his own manager, Sparky Anderson. The Tigers won the World Series in 1984, giving Anderson the chance to pick the squad’s reserves.
Gibson again had the chance to go in 1988 when he was with the Dodgers, but he turned down Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, saying he “was kind of missing home.”
He went on to win the NL MVP award that season after hitting .290 with 25 homers and 76 RBI.
It was one of four seasons in which Gibson was named on MVP ballots. He finished in the top 10 of his league in OPS on four occasions and in homers three times, but not once in 17 years did he go to the All-Star Game. He finally did make his first All-Star appearance last night as one of the coaches for the NL team.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.