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Zim Before Jeebus

June 22, 2010
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At The Seattle Times, Larry Stone argues that Stephen Strasburg should be on the All-Star team because, if for no other reason, of the roster expansions that occurred as a result of that horrendous tie in 2002.  Instead of ten, there are now 13 pitching slots on both teams—“surely, there’s a spot for the most riveting pitcher in baseball.”  As to the question of just whose spot Jeebus would be taking:

Yes, picking Strasburg would come at the expense of a pitcher who has been toiling all season, someone with better overall numbers. But it comes down to this: the All-Star Game is for the fans. Interest has been waning in recent years. Ratings are in a nosedive. The presence of Strasburg facing the likes of Joe Mauer, Evan Longoria and Vlad Guerrero, would be great theater. And with 12 straight losses, the National League could stand to use another overpowering arm.

Perhaps I benefit here from a different perspective, but Strasburg’s presence would come at the expense of more than one person.  Sure, some on-the-bubble, a-little-better-than-good starting pitcher would get the snub, but the much bigger snub would be Natrals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.  Last year, Zim made the All-Star team because Charlie Manuel literally had to pick somebody off the 100-loss Natrals team of 2009.  Even though the Natrals are nowhere close to as bad this year—they’re 32-39 and 10 ½ games out of first—no single Washington player is in the top five at his position besides Pudge, who is third at catcher.

Putting Jeebus on the All-Star team would have the effect of booting Zim off the team.  Maybe Manuel would have chosen someone else like Pudge or Freddie Physical Adam Dunn, but the smart money is on Zim.  And it should be!  Pete Franchise is the best third baseman in the NL and maybe the league as a whole.  He should be an All-Star regardless of whether Jeebus is or not.  Unfortunately, the Natties’ failures over the past two years combined with this year’s mediocre season probably ensure that they will again be another one-guy-All-Star-team club.  And if that one guy is Stephen Strasburg, then Ryan Zimmerman will be robbed blind.

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