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July 2, 2010

On the Beat

Friday Update

by John Perrotto

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The fan balloting ended at midnight and the managers, players, and coaches have also cast their votes. Thus, the only thing to do is wait it out until Sunday afternoon when Major League Baseball announces the roster for the All-Star Game, which will be played July 13 in Anaheim.

But why wait until Sunday? Let's take a peek at the All-Star rosters.

OK, they're not the official All-Star roster. Bud Selig doesn't trust me enough to pick 34-man squads for both the American and National leagues. However, I'll take a stab anyway and fill out the rosters for both sides, leaning on BP metrics to help make the selections and keeping in mind the All-Star rules that require each of the 30 to have a representative and both squads have at least 14 pitchers in the unlikely event the game lasts 34 innings.

American League

Starters
First baseman: Justin Morneau, Twins. Flashing that 2006 MVP form again.
Second baseman: Robinson Cano, Yankees. Has gone from a good player to a star right before our eyes.
Third baseman: Adrian Beltre, Red Sox. Having a heckuva offensive year for a guy who was supposed to prevent runs.
ShortstopDerek Jeter, Yankees. The production is matching the intangibles.
CatcherJoe Mauer, Twins. Even in an "off year," he's still awfully good.
OutfieldersCarl Crawford, Rays; Josh Hamilton, Rangers; and Alex Rios, White Sox. Crawford is setting himself up for a huge contract as a free agent next winter, Hamilton is resurrecting his career for a second time, and Rios has shown that Ken Williams wasn't so crazy after all.
Designated hitter: Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers. Well, so much for the idea that he is over the hill.
PitcherJon Lester, Red Sox. No AL pitcher has truly stood above the rest, but Lester has been pretty darn good.

Reserves
C: Jorge Posada, Yankees (injury replacement for Victor Martinez, Red Sox); 1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers; 2B: Ty Wigginton, Orioles; 3B: Evan Longoria, Rays, SS: Elvis Andrus, Rangers, OF: Brennan Boesch, Tigers; Shin-Soo Choo, Indians; David DeJesus, Royals; Brett Gardner, Yankees; Vernon Wells, Blue Jays, DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox.

Pitchers
Clay Buchholz, Red Sox; Trevor Cahill, Athletics; Felix Hernandez, Mariners; Cliff Lee, Mariners; Francisco Liriano, Twins; Jeff Niemann, Rays; Darren Oliver, Rangers; Andy Pettitte, Yankees; David Price, Rays; Mariano Rivera, Yankees; Ricky Romero, Blue Jays; Jose Valverde, Tigers; Jered Weaver, Angels.

National League

Starters
First baseman: Adrian Gonzalez, Padres. He single-handedly tries to destroy the idea that Petco Park is a pitcher's paradise.
Second baseman: Martin Prado, Braves. Has gone from a super utilityman to a potential superstar.
Third baseman: David Wright, Mets. Reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated.
Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins. An outstanding player, even when he forgets to hustle.
Catcher: Brian McCann, Braves. Having another outstanding, and unnoticed, season.
Outfielders: Marlon Byrd, Cubs; Matt Holliday, Cardinals; Andres Torres, Giants. Byrd is one of the few Jim Hendry signings that has worked out, Holliday has proven to be worth the $120 million so far, and Torres is just 
defying all logic.
PitcherUbaldo Jimenez, Rockies. More than anyone, he has fueled all the "Year of the Pitcher" talk.

Reserves
C: Miguel Olivo, Rockies; 1B: Albert Pujols, Cardinals; Joey Votto, Reds; 2B: Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks; Brandon Phillips, Reds (injury replacement for Chase Utley, Phillies); 3B: Scott Rolen, Reds; SS: Rafael Furcal, Dodgers (injury replacement for Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies); OF: Andre Ethier, Dodgers; Angel Pagan, Mets; Colby Rasmus, Cardinals; Jayson Werth, Phillies; Josh Willingham, Nationals

Pitchers
Matt Cain, Giants; Chris Carpenter, Cardinals; Tyler Clippard, Nationals; Yovani Gallardo, Brewers; Jaime Garcia, Cardinals; Roy Halladay, Phillies; Tim Hudson, Braves; Josh Johnson, Marlins; Evan Meek, Pirates; Roy Oswalt, Astros; Mike Pelfrey, Mets; Arthur Rhodes, Reds; Adam Wainwright, Cardinals.

---

Rarely does a day go by when Jack Zduriencik isn't asked about the status of Lee. Yet the Mariner's general manager understands all the fascination with left-hander, who figures to be perhaps the most attractive player on the market if the Mariners decide to deal him before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

Zduriencik won't say whether or not he will trade Lee. However, the word around the Mariners is that they will gladly hold on to Lee and take two draft choices as compensation for losing him as a free agent in the winter if they don't find a deal to their liking.

"I think it's just good copy," Zduriencik said of all the Lee talk. "Everybody has to write, there's obvious things out there that are intriguing, if you're a true baseball fan, or a casual baseball fan. You have your hometown team you root for, a lot of personal interest, and you have your emotions invested in the club. Anytime something happens, whether it's an injury, whether it's a winning streak, something that affects the balance of the ballclub, it's news, it's a curiosity. That's what drives talk radio, the blogs, people buying newspapers. It motivates people. You just have to take it in stride and understand that's all part of it."

Zduriencik is not actively shopping Lee. However, he is getting calls from other GMs and listening to what they have to say.

"If you try to force something, that's not the best way to do things," he said. "Right now, we want to win baseball games. That is our focus."

The Mariners certainly don't look like they have given up on the season despite being in last place in the AL West with a 33-45 record, 14 games behind the division-leading Rangers. The Mariners went 14-13 in June and have won nine of their last 13 games.

---

The Marlins ended their fiasco of a managerial search this week, saying that interim skipper Edwin Rodriguez would remain in charge through the end of the season. The Marlins had interviewed Rodriguez and Diamondbacks third base coach Bo Porter last weekend for the job that was supposedly going to ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine, former manager of the Rangers and Mets.

The Marlins offered Valentine a four-year contract. However, Valentine decided not to accept because he had questions about owner Jeffrey Loria's commitment to ultimately increasing the payroll and how much say so he would have over the composition of the roster.

Thus, Rodriguez, who had been managing the Marlins' Triple-A New Orleans farm club before being promoted last week when Fredi Gonzalez was fired, will have the remainder of the season to prove himself. Bench coach Brandon Hyde, hitting coach John Mallee, and first-base coach Tarrik Brock will also stay on through the end of the season after they were promoted when bench coach Carlos Tosca and hitting coach Jim Presley were fired along with Gonzalez, and first-base coach Dave Collins resigned in protest.

"Continuity is important, and that's what we will do," Loria said. "What continues to always be my first and foremost concern are the players, and I thought the continuity of that was the most important thing we could do."

The Marlins' players do indeed seem relieved that they will not have to worry about getting used to a manager from outside the organization in the middle of the season.

"It's huge," left fielder Chris Coghlan said. "Now we know this is our coaching staff, this is our manager, this is who we're playing for. We don't have to be in limbo worrying about other things. It gives everybody peace of mind."

---

MLB Rumors and Rumblings: Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn is at the top of the White Sox' wish list, but they are balking at giving up right fielder Carlos Quentin in return. … The Padres want to add a starting pitcher and an outfielder and are said to be willing to give up closer Heath Bell to acquire one or both in the right trade. … The Braves have again ramped up their pursuit of Willingham. … Indians right-hander Jake Westbrook is drawing increased trade interest with the Cardinals reportedly at the top of the list.  … The Indians are also likely to call up Michael Brantley from Triple-A Columbus and install him as their center fielder and leadoff hitter no later than right after the All-Star break. … The Phillies are giving strong consideration to either using left-hander J.A. Happ as a reliever or optioning him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley when he is activated from the disabled list as he has been less than impressive in his injury rehabilitation starts in the minor leagues. … Felix Pie is expected to replace Corey Patterson as the Orioles' center fielder and leadoff hitter once he comes off the disabled list, perhaps as early as this weekend. … The Dodgers are expected to use a combination of Garret Anderson and Xavier Paul in left field if Manny Ramirez is forced to go on the disabled list with his hamstring injury. … The Reds are likely to call up top prospect Aroldis Chapman from Triple-A Louisville next week and put the left-hander in their bullpen.

John Perrotto is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

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