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Here are your 2016 All-Stars for the American and National Leagues

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The 2016 All-Star Game will be hosted by the Padres at Pecto Park on July 12. Your starters were just announced on a special selection show on ESPN.

American League Starters

C – Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

1B – Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals

2B – Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

SS – Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox

3B – Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles

OF – Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

OF – Jackie Bradley, Jr., Boston Red Sox

OF – Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

DH – David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

American League Reserves

C – Stephen Vogt, Oakland Athletics

C – Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles

1B – Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

2B – Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners

3B – Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays

SS – Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians

SS – Eduardo Nunez, Minnesota Twins

OF – Carlos Beltran, New York Yankees

OF – Ian Desmond, Texas Rangers

OF – Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles

DH – Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays

American League Pitchers

SP – Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

SP – Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians

SP – Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers

SP – Steven Wright, Boston Red Sox

SP – Marco Estrada, Toronto Blue Jays

RP – Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox

RP – Zach Britton, Baltimore Orioles

RP – Brad Brach, Baltimore Orioles

RP – Andrew Miller, New York Yankees

RP – Dellin Betances, New York Yankees

RP – Wade Davis, Kansas City Royals

RP – Alex Colome, Tampa Bay Rays

RP – Will Harris, Houston Astros

National League Starters

C – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

1B – Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

2B – Ben Zobrist, Chicago Cubs

SS – Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs

3B – Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs

3B – Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

OF – Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

OF – Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets

OF – Dexter Fowler, Chicago Cubs

National League Reserves

C – Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals

C – Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers

1B – Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

1B – Wil Myers, San Diego Padres

2B – Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals

3B – Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

SS – Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

OF – Adam Duvall, Cincinnati Reds

OF – Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies

OF – Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia phillies

OF – Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins

National League Pitchers

SP – Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

SP – Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs

SP – Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants

SP – Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants

SP – Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves

SP – Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets

SP – Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins

SP – Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

RP – Jeurys Familia, New York Mets

RP – Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

RP – Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates

RP – Fernando Rodney, Miami Marlins

RP – A.J. Ramos, Miami Marlins

Discuss the snubs in the comments. I’ll get you started: Jake Lamb.

 

Rob Manfred explains reasoning behind proposal to cut 42 minor league teams

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As we learned earlier this week, Major League Baseball wants to contract 42 minor league teams, mostly in short-season and rookie ball. The proposal earned a lot of backlash, including from some of the teams on the chopping block and from Congress. MLB responded with its own letter to Congress, written by deputy commissioner Dan Halem, explaining the league’s reasoning.

In the letter, Halem complains about the lack of competition between minor league teams and independent teams. Halem wrote, “The lack of competition among operators of teams for an affiliation with a Major League Club has reduced the incentive for some affiliated Minor League teams to improve their facilities and player amenities.” It is an interesting thing to write as someone representing a $10 billion business that has benefited for a century from an antitrust exemption.

Halem also noted that MLB has several goals that are supposedly attained by cutting 26 percent of the minors: ensuring the quality of the facilities for the players, reducing the travel burden, improving the “compensation, accommodations, and amenities” for players, improving the affiliation process between minor league and major league teams.

Commissioner Rob Manfred essentially echoed that sentiment on Thursday, per Newsday’s Laura Albanese. He gave four reasons behind the proposal: inadequate facilities, travel, poor pay, drafting and signing players who don’t have a realistic shot to make it to the majors. The last reason is a new one, but let’s go over those four reasons in context.

It is true that some, perhaps even most, of the facilities of the 42 named teams are inadequate. It’s not all of them. As NECN’s Jack Thurston reports, the owner of the short-season Lowell Spinners, Dave Heller, said that his team’s stadium is “arguably the best facility in the New York-Penn League,” speaking highly of its lighting and field conditions. The Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros’ Single-A affiliate and also on the chopping block, renovated their stadium a handful of times over the last 12 years. In fact, it earned an award from BallparkDigest.com for “Best Ballpark Improvement” in both 2008 and ’09, and finished third in the 2018 running for “Best View in the Minors.” At any rate, if facility quality is such a big issue, why did the Athletics continue to play in a stadium that repeatedly had its sewage system overflow in 2013?

Travel is certainly a big issue for minor leaguers because they mostly travel by bus, not plane. Having teams located closer to each other would be more beneficial in this regard. Or — and hear me out, here — major league teams could take on the extra expenditure of paying for their minor leaguers’ airfare. Several years ago, the Phillies took on the extra expenditure of making sure their minor leaguers ate healthy food and that has worked out well. The Blue Jays took on the extra expenditure of giving their minor leaguers a pay raise and that has worked out well. The Red Sox took on the extra expenditure of installing a sleep room at Fenway Park to ensure their players were well-rested and that has worked out well. No one is suggesting that Single-A players have to fly first class on every flight, but the travel issue is an easy fix that doesn’t require contracting 42 teams. Teams have individually chosen to improve their players’ quality of life and it has yielded positive results. Imagine it on a league-wide scale for thousands of players in their formative years.

Manfred citing minor league pay as a basis for the proposal is laughable. His own league successfully lobbied Congress to amend language in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, classifying minor league players as seasonal workers. That means they are not entitled to a minimum wage or overtime pay, among other worker protections. If the pay of minor league players was so important to Major League Baseball, it wouldn’t have pressured the government to legally ensure they didn’t have to pay them a living wage. Every baseball team is worth at least a billion dollars. The league has set year-over-year revenue records for 16 consecutive years, crossing $10 billion in 2018. Minor leaguers could be compensated well without robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Lastly, it is true that a majority of minor league players will never reach the major leagues. That doesn’t mean that their presence in the minor leagues or their effort to realize their dreams have zero value. Lopping off the bottom 26 percent of minor leaguers might nominally increase the level of skill on each roster, but it eliminates so many jobs — well over 1,000. Furthermore, there are few incentives for athletes to want to slog through several years of the minors as it is, as Kyler Murray recently showed, but there would be even fewer incentives by shrinking the minors (and, consequently, the draft). Shrinking the minors and the draft could lead to more minor league free agents, but if baseball is actually interested in a free market (it’s not) then it should abolish the draft entirely as well as the arbitration system.

These reasons, each uniquely fallacious, hide the real reason behind the proposal: shifting money around so Major League Baseball can say it will award pay raises to minor leaguers, ending a years-long stretch of bad P.R., without actually cutting into profits. MLB could have afforded to pay minor leaguers a living wage years ago and it chose not to. MLB could have chosen not to lobby Congress for the ability to continue underpaying minor leaguers years ago, but it chose to do so. Everything since has been the league trying to avoid lying in the bed it made for itself.