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Tommy Pham on All-Star voting: ‘It’s always unfair. It’s never going to be fair.’

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Over at The Athletic, Josh Tolentino has a story up that makes a good point: the Rays currently have only one guy — Austin Meadows — in starting position in All-Star voting despite having multiple guys who are deserving on merit. He goes through the Rays’ roster to see who is deserving.

Before he does that, though, he gets a quote from Tommy Pham that’ll probably get picked up by a lot of people and cast in a certain way but which, really, makes a good point in a less obvious way.

Here’s what Pham said about the Rays’ so-far poor showing in All-Star voting:

“We won’t get credit, man. It’s always unfair. Big market vs. small market. It’s never going to be fair. With Avisaíl [Garcia] and me, when I saw the ballot of the guys ahead of us – (Red Sox) Jackie Bradley Jr. and (Yankees) Brett Gardner – and they’re hitting around .200 or lower. That tells you it right there.”

I presume some in the Boston and New York media will pick up on the comments to Bradley and Gardner and try to make hay out of it, because that’s just how these things go. Pham goes on to talk about how the Rays are never featured on ESPN and how big market vs. small market rules such considerations and I suppose people will cast that as whining in some way as well.

But there’s something else Pham said that is more notable to me:

“It’s never going to be fair. It has to change because when you go into arbitration, that’s a big thing that’s talked about with accomplishments. Baseball has to be better to fix it.”

Do All-Star credentials have a big impact on arbitration. I dunno. I think it’s more of a side factor — something thrown out in passing — as opposed to the meat of an arbitration presentation, but it’s not nothing. If it has even a slight effect, though, it’s garbage because we have an All-Star voting system that is, frankly, ridiculous in its randomness and geared far more toward maximizing web traffic and sponsorship engagement than it is in actually picking players for the All-Star Game. To the extent an All-Star selection — especially a selection as a starter — impacts arbitration awards Pham is right to be mad about it because those arbitration awards, in turn, have a big impact on later salary negotiations. It’s bad enough that voting leaders get cash bonuses now, but if MLB’s farce of an All-Star voting system costs players money down the road, it’s way worse.

As for the larger stuff about the Rays not getting exposure: well, yeah. That’s a tale as old as baseball, unfortunately. But even if it’s an old complaint, and one about which not much can be done, it doesn’t negate what Pham is saying about the arbitration angle.

Cody Bellinger wins 2019 National League Most Valuable Player Award

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Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger was named the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers Associated of America. He received 19 of 30 first-place votes.

Bellinger, 24, was the NL Rookie of the Year two years ago and is now the MVP. In 2019, he hit .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs, 115 RBI, 121 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases. Among qualified position players in the NL, Bellinger and Christian Yelich tied in Wins Above Replacement at 7.8, according to FanGraphs. Bellinger’s strong year helped the Dodgers win a franchise record 106 games, though they were stopped short in the NLDS by the eventual world champion Nationals.

Bellinger is the first Dodger to win the award since Clayton Kershaw in 2014. He also joins Kirk Gibson, Steve Garvey, Sandy Koufax, and Maury Wills to win the award since the team moved to Los Angeles. Bellinger is overall the 13th Dodger to be named the MVP. He is the 18th NL player to win both a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP award.

Yelich finished in second place and Anthony Rendon finished in third place. They were followed by Ketel Marte, Ronald Acuña Jr., Nolan Arenado, and Pete Alonso. Also receiving votes were Freddie Freeman, Juan Soto, Jacob deGrom, Josh Donaldson, Trevor Story, Jack Flaherty, J.T. Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, Max Muncy, Stephen Strasburg, Eugenio Suárez, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, Kevin Pillar, and Max Scherzer.