These Twelve All-Stars Are Wearing Different Uniforms Than They Did Last Year
Carlos Santana Spent Just One Season Away From Cleveland, The Home Of The All-Star Game
One Likely All-Star Was Traded Just A Week Before The Voting Ended
Baseball traditionalists suffered pangs of regret at the tremendous changes undergoing in their favorite sport, but it goes far beyond defensive shifts and starters averaging under five innings per game. This season's All-Star rosters reflect another regret in today's configuration of America's Pastime, a change that had been foreshadowed just a few winters ago.
In what would have been virtually unheard of even as recently as two decades ago, a team traded the league's Most Valuable Player just weeks after he had been given that award. The Miami Marlins in 2017 sent outfielder Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees, a move based on finances but nonetheless a sad sign for the sport.
This year a similar phenomenon can be evidenced in the upcoming Midsummer Classic, which for the first time will feature over a dozen players who are with different teams than they were last season. Most of the turnover can be traced to free agency, but just as culpable is front office over dependence on statistical analysis.
Here are a dozen current All-Stars who will be wearing a different uniform than they donned in 2018.
James McCann, catcher
He guided the Astros to a second straight American League West championship last year, and so far he has been the best hitting catcher as a member of the Chicago White Sox. Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees will start the game at Cleveland's Progressive Field, but there is little doubt that McCann will be there as well.
Yasmani Grandal, catcher
After spending several seasons and capturing two pennants with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yaz is enjoying one of the best years of his career as the regular backstop of the Milwaukee Brewers. He lost the fan vote to Wilton Contreras of the Chicago Cubs, but Grandal will certainly be chosen as a reserve.
Robinson Chirinos, Catcher
You would think that the Astros would be regretting the departure of McCann, but the former receiver of the Texas Rangers has provided some relief for an offense greatly weakened by injuries to stars such as George Springer, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve.
Edwin Encarnacion, First Base
Not only did he switch from the Indians to the Mariners over the winter, but the current home run leader was just last week traded from Seattle to the New York Yankees.
C. J. Cron, First Base
After an adequate career with the Los Angeles Angels, Cron joined Minnesota over the winter. He has been one of the numerous free agents who have really helped ignite the Twins to the best record in the league, so he will likely be named as a reserve.
Carlos Santana, First Base
Even if the game were not in the city where he spent most of his career, the former first baseman of the Philadelphia Phillies has enjoyed such a resurgence in his return to northern Ohio that he would be selected regardless.
DJ LeMahieu, Second Base
New York signed him to be a super utility player, but all he has done this year is lead the league in batting average while providing the Yankees with pop at the top of the order. The former Colorado Rockies star and batting champion will be starting the game at Progressive Field.
Tommy Lastella, Third Base
Zack Cozart was lost to injury, so the former Chicago Cubs utility player has been a great signing for the Angels. He will not start on Tuesday night, but he will no doubt be on the team.
Michael Brantley, Outfield
He has helped keep Houston on top in spite of all the injuries, and he will certainly be welcomed back to the city he called home up until he left the Indians last winter.
Hunter Pence, Outfield
Many fans had given up on the popular former San Francisco star, but Texas saw enough left in him to sign him over the winter. As his .300 batting average and double digit home runs will attest, that signing has really paid off for the second place Rangers.
Nelson Cruz, Outfield
Although primarily a designated hitter, the former Seattle slugger finished among the top vote getters among outfielders. He is still another one of the remarkable under the radar free agent signings that have paid off for the first place Twins.
Charlie Morton, Pitcher
Houston made news because they let Cy Young Award winner Dallas Kuechel leave to pursue free agency, but little attention was given to the loss of Morton. The veteran right hander has continued to dominate after signing with the Tampa Rays, who have been near the top of the division all season in large part because of its starting rotation.