Trey Mancini hasn’t been added to the American League team as a reserve. Baseball is sustaining the snub.
Let’s be clear that Means is a deserving representative. There shouldn’t be outrage at his inclusion, though it came as a bit of a surprise given his innings count prior to the selection and the impression that Mancini was a certainty.
Mancini began yesterday with a 0.9 WAR. Means has a 3.4 WAR while awaiting his next start.
Taking two players from a team with the worst record in baseball seemed unlikely.
Teammates were campaigning heavily for Mancini. An entire organization was on board. And this led to an awkward situation when he failed to make it.
No one begrudges Means the opportunity to go to Cleveland, and campaigning for him made little sense because fans don’t vote for pitchers. But there was so much focus on Mancini, and rightfully so, that his exclusion infuriated the Orioles. From top to bottom.
I spoke to a few teammates leading up to the announcement and no one implied that Means was unworthy. They just spoke up for Mancini because that’s how the questions were posed. His overall production and importance to the club and why they were eager to spread the word to the public.
“Trey is, in my opinion, what makes the offense go,” said reliever Richard Bleier. “He’s just flat-out a great hitter, and to carry us through the good times and the bad is the most impressive. Bad game, he’s still hitting and trying to keep us afloat a little bit. He’s hitting in the middle of the order. He’s been just a really nice, consistent player, and playing multiple positions in the field as well. He is really impressive offensively and defensively, and I think that his ability to hit and hit for power is up there in the tops of the league, and he has every right to be an All-Star.”
“I think he’s become the player that a lot of people expected him to be, and that’s an elite hitter and a really good teammate,” said utility player Stevie Wilkerson. “You watch him day to day and see how he goes about his business and see how he plays the games, you just have a lot of respect for a guy like that.”
Bleier and reliever Mychal Givens led the charge within the clubhouse to get Mancini into the All-Star Game.
“As a team that’s not doing as well as other teams and a small-market team, you’d think guys who are performing might just get lumped into nobody’s doing well,” Bleier said. “I felt it was important to get Trey’s name out there as much as I can. Like, hey, our season might not be going that well right now, but Trey’s doing as well as anybody else in the league. He deserves it. Bottom line, in my opinion, he deserves to be an All-Star.
“It’s really a great honor to be an All-Star and you just never know. You can’t take it for granted. Yeah, Trey’s a great baseball player, but you just never know if this situation will present itself again. So for him not to get it in a year when he deserves it, for one reason or another, I think wouldn’t be right. So I just wanted to try to do what I could to get him in there.”
Bleier’s observation about how the opportunity could be fleeting, with no guarantees that Mancini will be in position again, really hit home after the selection show on ESPN.
“It’s been fun to show our support for him and do our best to get him in there,” Wilkerson said. “I truthfully believe he should be an All-Star.”
Maybe in 2020.
* Asher Wojciechowski makes his second start with the Orioles after allowing four runs and striking out six batters in 5 1/3 innings against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Wojciechowski made his only career start against the Blue Jays on May 30, 2017 in Toronto and allowed four runs in four innings. He surrendered home runs to Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Russell Martin.
* The Orioles are trying for their first three-game series sweep since Aug. 27-29, 2018 against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards.
* According to STATS, Renato Núñez joined Boog Powell (1964) and Manny Machado (2018) yesterday as the only Orioles players age 25 or younger with at least 20 home runs before the All-Star break. Machado had 24 before the 2018 break, but three came after he turned 26.
You might be able to win a few bets with that one.