It’s a veritable passing of the torch.
The game’s all-time closer, Mariano Rivera, makes way for new blood, rookie Jordan Walden, as the AL named the Angels reliever to the All-Star Game on Thursday.
Walden was the choice even though he’s tied with Matt Capps for the major league lead in blown saves by a closer with six.
The league was set on replacing Rivera with a reliever, but there were plenty of better choices based on 2011 performance. Rivera’s Yankee teammate David Robertson was one of them. Walden’s own teammate, Scott Downs, has been much more effective as a setup man than Walden has as a closer. Boston’s Daniel Bard, Balitmore’s Koji Uehara and Seattle’s David Pauley also would have been valid choices.
But none of them have 19 saves. So, Walden it is.
Cavan Biggio, son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, has been called up by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Biggio, 24, was a fifth round selection in the 2016 draft. So far this year he has put up a .307/.445/.504 batting line with six home runs and five steals Triple-A Buffalo. He’s a utility guy of sorts, having spent time at first, second, third and all three outfield positions so far this year. He, perhaps ironically, has not caught yet in his pro career, nor does he play short. Still, that kind of flexibility in a young player can be pretty useful in this age of big bullpens. Especially if he continues to rake like he has. He’ll likely mostly play second base for the Jays starting out.
With Vlad Guerrero Jr. playing third base every day, Toronto now has two sons of Hall of Famers on their roster. That’s pretty neat.