Possible trade of Orioles’ Machado could create an All-Star conundrum

The All-Star ballots are out. The last-place Orioles have one All-Star, shortstop Manny Machado, but speculation is heating up about the Orioles possibly trading him.

So what happens to the Orioles’ All-Star representative if Machado is traded before the July 17 game in D.C.? Would the Orioles go without an All-Star, even though All-Star teams are required to have at least one player from each team? Would another Oriole be chosen?

A spokesman for Major League Baseball said Monday that the predicament will be solved if and when Machado is traded.

There is no rule on this, just judgment. Timing of the trade will be key.

Machado could go to the All-Star Game as an Oriole. He could go with his new team or he could get shut out.

The closest precedent is Carlos Beltran of Kansas City in 2004. Beltran was hitting .278 with 15 home runs and 51 RBI when the Royals traded him to Houston a few days before American League and National League teams were announced.

When the teams were named, rookie first baseman Ken Harvey represented the Royals in Houston. Beltran was there as an Astro. (Remember, the Astros were an NL team until moving to the AL for the 2013 season.)

In 2014, the Cubs traded pitcher Jeff Samardzija, an NL All-Star with a 2.83 ERA in 17 starts, to Oakland on July 5. So, given that he was an NL All-Star, he was inactive on the AL roster for the game in Minnesota’s Target Field. It was the only time he has been selected.

The Cubs had Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo on the 2014 All-Star roster, so they weren’t shut out.

Relief pitcher Jeff Shaw, who had a 1.81 ERA in 39 games, was traded from Cincinnati to Los Angeles on July 4, 1998, and didn’t make the NL team as a Dodger. Bret Boone represented the Reds at the game in Denver.

If Machado is traded, it’s possible the Orioles would have no representative at the game.

That’s happened too.

Last year, outfielder Mike Trout was the only Angel on the AL roster, but he was injured and didn’t attend. In 2015, the Marlins had Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton on the All-Star team, but both were injured. Miami didn’t have a representative.

Answers to other questions as the season moves toward the midway point:

Q: Can Seattle keep pace with Houston in the AL West?

A: The Mariners are contending even though they lost their best player, second baseman Robinson Cano, to an 80-game PED suspension. But it doesn’t seem to matter. The most interesting stat about the Mariners is that they’ve won 21 of 30 one-run games, a sign of a good team. They have a good balance of speed - Jean Segura and Gordon - and power - Nelson Cruz, Mitch Haniger, Ryon Healy, Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino - but the Mariners can’t match Houston’s rotation. Felix Hernandez, once the staff leader, is pitching as if he’s a No. 3 or No. 4. Can lefty journeyman Wade LeBlanc continue his magic, even though he’s pitched 100-plus innings once in his career? Mike Leake has is up and down. Marco Gonzales is a long-term question. But lefty James Paxton is putting up All-Star and Cy Young numbers.

Q: Is Atlanta capable of hanging with the Nationals in the NL East?

A: The Braves are a mirror image of the Mariners. Their lineup, which leads the NL in runs scored and is among the leaders in several offensive categories, is balanced with speed (Ozzie Albies, Ender Inciarte) and power (Freddie Freeman, Albies) and a consistent Nick Markakis. But like the Mariners, the rotation is iffy for the long haul. Mike Foltynewicz is the real deal and lefty Sean Newcomb is an All-Star candidate who’s never pitched more than 150 innings. Brandon McCarthy is good and bad, and Julio Teheran, much like King Felix in Seattle, isn’t the same top-of-the-rotation guy that the Braves need him to be.

Q: Relief pitcher Justin Miller is a surprise in the Nationals bullpen. How did the Nationals find him?

A: The Nationals scouted Miller when he was pitching for Detroit and Colorado, and while he didn’t have impressive statistics, the Nationals liked his approach. “He was always in attack mode, so we put him on our list,’’ Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says. Miller reinvented himself over the winter, changing his diet and did more workouts. “I gave up soda, pizza and beer,’’ Miller said.

Q: Would the New York Mets be willing to trade either one of two pitchers, Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom?

A: The Mets farm system is thin, so trading either would have to bring an amazing haul of prospects. A weak list of potentially available starters - with Texas’ Cole Hamels, San Diego’s Tyson Ross and Toronto’s J.A. Happ - could work in the Mets’ favor. But, they are fantastic building blocks at a cheap price. deGrom, 30, has a 2.92 ERA and isn’t a free agent after 2020. Syndergaard, 25, who has a 2.92 ERA, isn’t a free agent until 2021.

Q: The Capitals are celebrating their first Stanley Cup championship. The Nats have a chance to bring a World Series to D.C. How often do trophies for the Cup and Series reside in the same city?

A: It’s happened twice, both times in New York. In 1928, the NHL Rangers beat Montreal for the Stanley Cup while the Yankees swept the Cardinals in the World Series. In 1933, the Rangers beat Toronto to win the hockey title and the Giants beat the Washington Senators in the World Series.