Dear Minnesota Twins,
Please don't suggest that I should vote for Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau to represent your ball club in the 2011 All-Star game. A handy little piece of PR propaganda from Rhett Bollinger, Twins beat reporter at MLB.com, states that "both have missed time in the early going this season because of injury and illness, but when they're healthy, it's hard to find a better 1-2 punch than the pair of former MVPs who make up the Twins version of the M&M boys."
I just gagged a little when I read that. Now don't get me wrong. I'm 100% a fan of Mauer and Morneau. Though I am angry at the organization for the way they have generally failed to give updates on Mauer, I have every confidence that Mauer will play healthy, probably starting in June, and that Morneau will slowly but surely become close to the player that we all remember. But it's going to be a longer road than expected for both of them. To suggest that I should vote for a catcher that, to date, has played in about 9 games and has compiled 1 extra base hit is insulting; to suggest that Justin Morneau, barely batting above .200 with 1 home run, is an All-Star, is embarrassing.
From an offensive standpoint, there are exactly two players worthy of All-Star consideration to represent the Twins in 2011: Jason Kubel and Denard Span, in that order. Kubel won't win the fan vote, but could (and very well might) be a manager's selection; Span, though he has tailed off a little from his fast start, is still batting close to .300 and has been, at the very least, a constant presence in the lineup. I also think his defense has been better than it was last year. I guess another candidate, from the pitching standpoint, could be Glen Perkins. Wow, did I write that? A commentary both on the fact that Perkins has exceeded expectations, and that that many others, in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, have not.
I understand the fundamental arguments for and against fans selecting the starting roster for the MLB All-Star game. I actually like the fact that the fans vote, even though it leads to players like Derek Jeter starting when there are perhaps at least 5 better players at his position. What I refuse to accept, however, is the organization pushing fans to vote for players who are: injured and not playing at all and not in the foreseeable future; playing, but barely contributing; simply a shell of their former self. Mauer and Morneau, at least at this point in 2011, fit some or all of those categories.
Joe Mauer will not be taking home any hardware this year. I doubt he will compile enough at-bats to even qualify for a batting title. You almost have to wonder, given that the Twins are paying Mauer $23 million to "rehab" for at least 20% of the season, why they would also want to pay his contractually-negotiated All-Star selection bonus? Morneau could win the Comeback Player of the Year award, and maybe rightfully so. But to suggest that either of them are worthy of being considered All-Stars, is insulting, especially when Jason Kubel actually is playing like an All-Star, and certainly could use a little good press from the organization.