I want to make it known that I love this move. Ken Rosenthal wrote on The Athletic that there is a clause that was put in into the new CBA that allows Rob Manfred to handpick some legends to add them to the All-Star game. A cool little wrinkle new to this season.
“In addition to the 32 players elected and selected to the All-Star Game, the Commissioner may choose to add one player that he selects to each League’s roster, in recognition of each player’s career achievements,” the clause states, according to a source. “If special circumstances warrant, the Commissioner may select more than one player to each league’s roster.”
Sign me up for this, there really is no downside. You know why? Because this is an exhibition game. It doesn't matter. It should be fun. You know what isn't fun? When Derek Jeter gets selected to the All-Star Game due to the fact that it was his last year. You know what else is bad? Cal Ripken Jr. being voted to start the All-Star Game even though he was hitting .240 in his last season. This doesn't allow that to happen. It doesn't allow the already stupid fan voting for starters to take the spot of someone who deserves it. This allows Manfred to pick guys who are older and likely on their way out and allows them to be an honorary member of the All-Star team as almost a nod to their career. Maybeeeeee someone like Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera? Think this was made with those guys specifically in mind. And I wouldn't bring up the point about it taking away a spot on the All-Star team of someone who deserves it if teams didn't parlay All-Star appearances into future contracts and HOF resumes and stuff like that. Just the fact that there are incentives for guys to make All-Star games while the rosters are mostly picked by the fans is a joke.
But I love this move. I think it's a cool way to honor a guy like Pujols who hasn't sniffed an All-Star worthy season since 2016. Get him into the game, maybe a leadoff at-bat, let the crowd go nuts, toss a meatball down the pipe and get him out of there. Same with Miggy, same with Justin Verlander (although he deserves to make it always), and in future years I'm sure there will be guys who fall under this category. Again, older guys on hole 17 or 18 of their career who deserve their recognition. Not Derek Jeter batting like .217 being announced as the starting shortstop just because it's Jeter. This is the right move by Manfred and the suits. Not everyone is Barry Bonds or David Ortiz (weird) at the end of their careers, it would be a cool way to see these guys close the book on their playing careers. Hell, with Pujols batting .198 with 4 homers there is no guarantee he'll be on a roster at the end of the season, it will be cool to see him get his recognition for his lifelong success while surrounded by the stars of today. Kind of a passing of the torch even though he passed it a while ago. It sucks that this wasn't put in earlier because like The Athletic pointed out, we never got to see someone like Ichiro get one last go around in the All-Star game because he wasn't voted in or picked to be in it. Let these guys go out on a high note. Could get some really cool moments here for the old time players too. Good stuff put together by Robbie M and the other suits.