Ty France continues to get no respect

The Mariners are on an historic 11-game winning streak. That's what matters (insofar as anything related to baseball matters in the grand scheme of things). Next Tuesday's All-Star Game is merely an exhibition, a sideshow. Moreover, it's a sideshow that has become a parody of itself in recent years with the advent of mic'd up player interviews while they are on the field, either fielding or batting, and absolutely no one involved with the actual playing of the game cares who wins.

That said, Seattle first baseman Ty France deserves to be on the All-Star team and he isn't. Still.

Ty first lost the fan vote to Toronto first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. That's OK, surely his peers recognize him as worthy. Except no, the players opted for Minnesota infielder Luis Arraez. OK, so the Commissioner's Office will rectify this with one of their selections, right? Wrong. They chose, not inappropriately, Julio Rodríguez to represent the Mariners, then opted to not count Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani against the dumb-rule pitcher quota which meant their last open spot had to go to a pitcher (Astros starter Framber Valdez). If not for the Ohtani sleight-of-hand, this would just be bad luck/bad voting regarding France. The rules are set up this way and, until the rules are altered, this sort of thing is going to happen and it is what it is.

But as is always the case, there are injuries and opt-outs that create new openings. The American League squad has so far had two slots open up. First Yordan Alvarez, the player-voted DH of the Astros, went on the injured list. Then today Toronto outfielder George Springer opted out to crate another opening. The Commissioner's Office filled those spots not with France, but with Boston DH J.D. Martínez and Texas shortstop Corey Seager.

Again, the rules are at fault for the first case. As it stands, if a player-elected All-Star is unable to participate/opts-out, then the next runner-up on the player ballot for that position gets chosen. Per the MLB ASG rules:

If a player-elected reserve position player must be replaced, the next in line for the position on the player ballot becomes a reserve, unless the leaders of the player ballot have already been accounted for.

Player Avg OBP SLG HR RBI Defense
Ty France (SEA) .303 .375 .457 10 47 ++
José Abreu (CWS) .301 .382 .472 11 45 avg
Taylor Ward (LAA) .290 .386 .502 12 34 avg
Yandy Díaz (TB) .302 .412 .400 3 26 avg
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (TOR) .304 .354 .433 5 36 -
Corey Seager (TEX) .246 .322 .468 21 50 +

This is inappropriate, especially when the "position" in question is designated hitter, but it's the rule. The second case, however, is pure disrespect.

Springer was a player-elected choice. He was not replaced by another outfielder, meaning all "leaders" (how many places constitute "leaders"? We don't know) at OF were already accounted for. So the league had free rein to pick any non-pitcher (again because of the stupid pitcher quota rule).

Unquestionably, Corey Seager is on a tear. He's white-hot right now. But All-Star players are recognized for the entirety of their seasons to this point, not the last few weeks of play in isolation. If we were to only consider what he'd done since June 15th (one month ago), yes, he'd be suitable (.305/.404/.632 in that span). But for the season as a whole? No way. Seager has home-run pop, but so do other hitters. Is Anthony Rizzo on the team? Is Geno Suárez? No, they aren't, nor should they be. There are half a dozen American League players I could name off the top of my head that have had better seasons so far than Seager and are more deserving of the All-Star slot, France at the top of the list.

It's one thing when a generally undeserving player is on the All-Star team due to fan voting. That happens. It's weird when such a player gets in via player voting, but those head-scratchers likely occur because the players vote too early, when the statistical sample sizes remain too small. But Commissioner picks and injury replacements? Once the every-team-needs-a-representative rule is settled, there's no excuse.

The rules need adjustment, clearly. The players shouldn't vote until, say, three-to-four weeks before the ASG. Replacement rules should never require a same-position player. The pitcher quota should be loosened if not done away with. But we've now seen that even when the rules are satisfied that the powers that be don't think Ty France is an All-Star.

No respect.


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