If the All-Star Game is supposed to count for something — like
homefield advantage in the postseason — then the managers should manage
the game in that vein . . . The culture of the event has shifted to the point where we are now at
the every-Little Leaguer-gets-a-trophy stage, which is unnecessary.
— Buster Olney, dropping some righteousness.
I don’t think baseball has the practical ability to make a rule that requires managers to play their starters longer in the All-Star Game. Indeed, how would you even draft such a rule that retains the manager’s ability to run the team?
But how nice would it be if a future All-Star manager said “look, you’re all big boys, so you’ll understand it when I tell ya that I’m going to play my best players the longest in this one. If you start and you’re the best guy at that position, I’m keeping you in for the whole damn game. If you got voted in and you’re not my best player at that position, I’m subbing someone in for you early and keeping them in there. If that bothers you go tell the media you’ve got elbow tendinitis and stay the hell home, but we’re winning this game, fellas.
OK, I promise that will be my last All-Star Game item of the season.
First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.
Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.