The American League is going with the same amount of closers, 3, as the National League this season, with New York's Mariano Rivera, Texas' Joe Nathan and Minnesota's Glen Perkins joining Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel, Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman and Pittsburgh Jason Grilli in the game on Tuesday July 16th game at Citi Field. While a special case could be made for Crain, who has pitched to a 0.74 ERA this season, there were better replacements for him than Perkins, (1.93, 20 saves).
Though the last vote for the final player on each team's roster has generally been a joke, this year has seen it taken to a different level. The AL final vote finalists are.... Toronto's Steve Delabar (5-1, 1.58), Detroit's Joaquin Benoit (2-0. 1.73), New York's David Robertson (4-1, 2.23), Texas' Tanner Scheppers (5-1, 1.88) and Boston's Koji Uehara (2-0, 1.81). While I do not mind rewarding a particular reliever who has been good for a long time, such as Mike Stanton and Jeff Nelson of the late 1990 Yankees or Mike Adams of the Padres and Rangers of the past couple seasons, two of the choices for the final spot and Brett Cecil are essentially in their first seasons being a middle reliever. And at least 12 other players in the league are worthy of consideration, erasing the possibility that few candidates exist.
If I had to nominate five candidates for the AL fan vote, I would choose Oakland's Josh Donaldson (.319, 15, 58), New York's Hiroki Kuroda (7-6, 2.77), Tampa Bay's Matt Moore (12-3, 3.42), Texas' Adrian Beltre (.311, 18, 47) and Detroit's Anibal Sanchez (7-5, 2.70). Other AL starting pitchers worth consideration are Baltimore's Chris Tillman (10-3, 3.92), Kansas City's Ervin Santana (5-5, 2.90) and Texas' Derek Holland (7-4, 3.19). If you wanted to go the reliever route, Oakland's Grant Balfour (0-1, 1.77, 23 saves) and Kansas City's Greg Holland (2-1, 1.85, 21 saves) are more worthy of consideration. Tampa Bay's James Loney (.319, 9, 43) and Los Angeles' Howie Kendrick (.312, 11, 40) are both deserving as well.
This is such a joke. Yet all the talk should be about Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers? Nobody had a problem with Bryce Harper getting in last year. So now we should fill the bullpens with middle relievers, where the best of them change month to month. Next thing you know, bench players and top pinch hitters will be on the teams each year. How about the best pinch runner? Or defensive replacement? Or LOOGY? We should save an all star spot for the best reliever to make a spot start. How about the best position player to pitch in a game? Might as well. In the mean time, deserving All Stars will now sit home each year for no reason.