Bob Ryan has one of those stream-of-consciousness observation columns today. His last observation:
Has any team, anywhere, at any time in history, ever messed up a valued prospect as badly as the Yankees have Joba Chamberlain?
I’ve asked that question before. And it sure seems like Chamberlain was jerked around like crazy in going back and forth between starting and relieving as well as having strange workload rules and all of that. I have to think that the Yankees would do things differently with him if they had to do it all over again.
Still, it seems odd that they’d do what they did in the first instance. The Yankees are a lot of things, but they’re not a dumb organization. It makes me wonder if the injury he suffered in 2008 was more serious than anyone has let on. Makes me wonder if the team doesn’t have far more serious doubts about him than “his stuff playing up better out of the pen” or however they’ve put it recently as they’ve absolutely eliminated the possibility that he will ever start for the Yankees.
I guess what I’m saying is that, while I don’t like how the Yankees have handled Chamberlain these past couple of years, I’m not prepared to say that they simply “messed him up” like Ryan says. It has to be more complicated than that, doesn’t it?
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: