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Worth the wait ( cont.)

Posted: Friday June 22, 2007 11:30AM; Updated: Friday June 22, 2007 12:37PM
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Where we tackle the All-Stars and Peter Angelos ...

Your "lone reps" section has to be one of the poorest researched things I've seen in an article. Brad Lidge as the lone rep for Houston? He has no saves and can't close anymore. Do you remember a guy named Carlos Lee? He's batting .293 with 12 HR and 59 RBIs. And on the Devil Rays, James Shields as the lone rep? He's pretty good but what about the only stud on that team, Carl Crawford? Why don't you get to know the players on each team? You're right about one thing thought -- the All-Star game is a bunch of b.s. for the most popular players not the best.
-- Charlie, Evanston, Ill.

All right, Charlie. First, Lee has the 11th-best OPS in the league. That's it. His OBP is 18th among outfielders. Even in homers he's no better than tied for sixth among outfielders. He's a key part of that Houston lineup, granted, but he's not an All-Star. He may get in as the team's lone rep, yes. But, in reality, he may not be the best outfielder on that team. (Hunter Pence, anyone?) Lidge has been really good, lately, if you haven't heard. As far as the Rays' Crawford? Love him, love his game, but his OPS is 10th in the league, thanks to the fact that he's 21st among outfielders in homers. He's only third among outfielders in steals (behind Grady Sizemore and Ichiro). He's striking out too much. He's a key part of that team, and I'd take him long-term over most. But this year? He may be only the third- or fourth-best player on that team (Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton, maybe Akinori Iwamura, maybe Shields, maybe Scott Kazmir ...).

One word for you: YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUK! (That would be Kevin Youkilis, the real Red Sox first baseman.)
-- Scott, Shelburne, Vt.

Yeah, I heard a lot from the Nation for not mentioning Youkilis. He's third in OPS. Tops in OBP (if you don't count Nick Swisher, which you could). Still, I'd probably take the power of the Twins' Justin Morneau or the Rangers' Mark Teixeira over Youk. I might even give the all-around play of Casey Kotchman of the Angels some consideration, though he's currently hurt. But Youk is worthy. We'll see if the players and manager Jim Leyland agree.

Only one Jay in San Fran? Alexis Rios has had an All-Star season so far with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs, Halladay is 8-2 with a 4.08 ERA. These two may not start in the All-Star Game but they definitely deserve to be on the team.
-- Chris Peters, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Agreed, Rios is having a fine year. His 15 dingers actually are tied with Minnesota's Torii Hunter for most in the AL among outfielders. Maybe Rios makes it to San Francisco. I'd have no problems with that at all. I don't think he and Troy Glaus will both go, though.

Does Jimmy Rollins make the team as a reserve? He has strong power numbers and is one of the most underrated fielders in the game. I understand it's tight this year but I feel like he gets overlooked. He strikes out too much (still), doesn't walk enough and isn't a prototype leadoff guy, but I'll take him.
-- Noah, Havertown, Pa.

Maybe J-Ro goes. He's second among NL shortstops in homers. But that's a bear of a race, with Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez (my top two picks), Edgar Renteria (who leads all NL shortstops in OPS) and maybe J.J. Hardy (who leads NL shortstops in homers with 17). Someone's going to get left out.

It would be a shame to see players like Victor Martinez and Edgar Renteria left at home. It is pretty ridiculous that the updated voting totals change my votes. For instance, I also voted for B.J. Upton initially, but after the totals were released, I switched to Placido Polanco, who was my No. 2 pick at 2B, in a form of "prevent defense" so that the second-place lurker Robinson Cano wouldn't seize the starting position and knock out either Upton or Polanco. I had voted for Martinez a couple times earlier, but once he fell out of the race and Pudge "four walks in 240 AB" Rodriguez took a lead on Posada, I switched to voting for Posada. Sure, a handful of votes has little influence in the final tally, but if it saves me from watching Rodriguez and Cano hitting grounders or foul pop-ups to Jeff Kent or Paul Lo Duca, then it's worth it.
-- Mike, West Lafayette

Democracy is hard, isn't it?

John, you nailed this one on Peter Angelos. "Morose" is the perfect adjective to describe Angelos, and unfortunately he has built an entire organization in his image, an organization that is lifeless, stubborn and devoid of any spark or enthusiasm. God help Andy MacPhail and Joe Girardi.
-- Gary Stokes, Fallston, Md.

God evidently talked a little sense into Girardi already.

Bottom Lines

This just in: Another team has tired of Milton Bradley's act ... At least Davey Johnson knows what he's getting into, if that's the way the Orioles want to go. And the Orioles, to be fair, know what they're getting into with Johnson. He's a very good and underappreciated manager -- with one World Series title and a .564 winning percentage in more than 3,000 games -- who sometimes has some off-field issues of his own ... Bobby Cox benched Andruw Jones on Wednesday night against the Red Sox, and no one (most notably, not even Jones) said much about it. How can you? His overall numbers are horrific: .202 average, .299 on-base percentage, a .388 slugging. But since he struck out five times against the Sox on May 20, they're even worse: .197/.248/.374. Jones, in a contract year, is costing himself millions ... I know Barry Zito is not having a very good year. But unlike Jason Schmidt, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and many others, at least you know that Zito is going to be there. He hasn't missed a start in his eight-year career. If he can regain his control and figure out those lefties, he'll almost be worth that $126 million. Right-handed hitters are flailing away at a .223 clip against Zito, with just a .309 on-base percentage. But lefties are hitting .333 with a .401 OBP ... I talked to Elijah Dukes this spring and found him to be quietly courteous and sufficiently chagrined about his sketchy past. He looked, and acted, ready and willing to start again, and thankful to be given a clean slate. I, evidently, am not the only one Dukes has fooled over the years. I'm just glad I don't have to pay him. Or live with him. Or be around him ...

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