final vote

“Final Vote” balloting now open for 2012 All-Star Game

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Major League Baseball revealed its 2012 All-Star rosters Sunday on TBS. But not everything is set for next Tuesday night’s game in Kansas City.

Over the next week, online ballots can be cast to send one additional player from each league to participate in this year’s Midsummer Classic.

MLB calls it the “Final Vote,” and it’s now open.

Your options are:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jonathan Broxton, RP, Royals
The 28-year-old right-hander has rebuilt his brand this season in Kansas City, currently boasting a 2.05 ERA and 20 saves in 30 2/3 innings as the Royals’ ninth-inning man. Broxton would join teammate Billy Butler as the only two hometown representatives at Kauffman Stadium.

Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
The Japanese right-hander told reporters last week that he didn’t feel deserving of an All-Star nod, but he might get one anyway. Darvish has posted a stellar 3.57 ERA and 10.0 K/9 through the first 95 2/3 innings of his major league career. The Rangers spent over $110 million on him this past winter.

Ernesto Frieri, RP, Angels
Frieri has surrendered zero runs and just six hits in 23 1/3 innings out of the Angels’ bullpen since being acquired from the Padres in early May. He has solidified Anaheim’s ninth-inning role.

Jason Hammel, SP, Orioes
Hammel carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning earlier this season against the Twins and has a 3.29 ERA through 15 starts (93 innings) for second-place Baltimore. The 29-year-old starter would join O’s catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Adam Jones out in western Missouri. Jim Johnson also got the nod.

Jake Peavy, SP, White Sox
The 31-year-old right-hander is back to his old tricks, with a 2.96 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 101/24 K/BB ratio through 112 2/3 innings this season. The American League Central-leading White Sox already have left-handed starter Chris Sale, first baseman Paul Konerko and designated hitter Adam Dunn ticketed for Kansas City. Peavy is also plenty deserving.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Michael Bourn, OF, Braves
Bourn is having the best offensive year of his career, already featuring a career-high seven home runs, a solid .307/.355/.442 batting line, 22 stolen bases and 52 runs scored through 77 games. The 29-year-old center fielder has been to one All-Star Game, in 2010 as a member of the Astros.

David Freese, 3B, Cardinals
Freese burst onto the scene last October with his record 21 postseason RBI and has followed that up with a decent first half. The third baseman entered play Sunday with 13 home runs, 48 RBI and an .812 OPS.

Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
The American League has a 20-year-old on its roster (Angels outfielder Mike Trout). Will the National League get Harper, who’s only 19? The former No. 1 overall pick has already become a major-league sensation just 56 games into his career and is backing up the hype with impact play all around the diamond.

Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks
Hill has already hit for the cycle twice this season and entered play Sunday with a cool .301/.362/.516 batting line. His numbers may be inflated by the batter-friendly confines of Arizona’s Chase Field, but there is no denying that he’s been a big-time run producer in the first half of the 2012 campaign.

Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves
This is the sentimental pick, as Jones has announced that he plans to retire at the end of the year. He’s hitting .291/.372/.450 with six home runs, six doubles and 28 RBI in 172 plate appearances this season.

Indians sign Brandon Guyer to a two-year extension

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Brandon Guyer #6 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates Rajai Davis #20 two-run home run during the eighth inning to tie the game 6-6 against the Chicago Cubs in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Brandon Guyer avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $5 million contract with a club option for 2019.

The Indians acquired Guyer from the Rays at last year’s trade deadline. After coming to Cleveland he posted a line of .333/.438/.469 in 38 games. He’s a .262/.349/.402 hitter over 344 games in five seasons in the bigs. He has led the league in being hit by pitches for the past two seasons, getting plunked 24 times in 2015 and 31 times in 2016. He went 6-for-18 with four walks and two HBPs in the playoffs for Cleveland. The man will work to get on base, my friends. And he can play all three outfield positions.

Nice signing.

Sarasota County to build the Braves a new spring training facility

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The Braves have trained at Walt Disney World for several years. The lease is up, however, and they’ve been on the hunt for a new facility for some time. Disney is just too geographically remote from most of the Grapefruit League facilities so they’ve looked on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts for some time.

Their search appears to be over, however, as they have reached an agreement to move to Sarasota:

The Atlanta Braves formally plan to move the team’s spring training home to North Port in 2019, the team and Sarasota County announced Tuesday afternoon.

The announcement set the stage for final negotiations this spring on a contract to bring the Major League Baseball team to a new complex in the West Villages district just south of West Villages Parkway and U.S. 41, near the State College of Florida campus in North Port.

It’ll be a $75-$80 million complex on 70 acres. The story says it’s envisioned to anchor a “town center” commercial and residential district. If anyone has ever been to a spring training facility, however, one knows how ridiculous such an idea is. There is nothing more geographically un-centered and dispersed than a spring training facility. It’s a sea of open fields which private citizens generally cannot access and large parking lots. These facilities typically require major arteries, not quaint town streets, for reasonable access. The best any facilities do to integrate with surrounding communities can be seen in Fort Myers with the Twins and in Surprise, Arizona with the Rangers and Royals, where the facilities are part of larger community parks and recreation centers. That’s OK, and certainly better than nothing, but they’re not the anchors of the vibrant live/work/shop developments like the Braves and Sarasota are describing here.

But of course everyone involved has to say that, because selling such facilities as the engine of pie-in-the-sky development is a key part of making the large expenditure of public funds seem more palatable. And yes, there will be a big expenditure of public funds here: the Braves will be getting $56 million in taxpayer subsidies for the new place, some from the state, some from the county. The amount from the county, by the way, is calculated to fall just below the threshold required for a public vote on the expenditure. The Braves have always been blessed with the ability to avoid public votes for their corporate welfare, of course.

One wonders how many other wealthy private businesses owned by multinational corporations get tens of millions in tax dollars to build employee training centers. Not many, I’m sure. The Braves always seem to luck out in this regard, however.