Does every *seller* get one representative?

Yesterday’s Cliff Lee trade raised the prospect of an interesting dilemma for Major League Baseball. All-Star Game rosters are devised with the requirement that each team (even the Orioles) gets one representative. Lee is an all-star; when rosters were selected, he was a Mariner, and now he’s a Ranger.

Now, the dilemma isn’t immediate. We have Ichiro Suzuki‘s enormous popularity to thank for that—the Mariners will have a representative. (And I think we’re safe in assuming Ichiro won’t be traded away.) But given the All-Star Game’s placement right in the middle of trade season, and the fact that teams with only one representative are the most likely to be sellers at the deadline, doesn’t it seem plausible that a team might trade away their one all-star before the All-Star Game?

Has this ever occurred? And if not, what do you think would happen as a result? Usually there are a handful of players who withdraw at the last minute, citing injuries or a recent start. So if a trade involving Ty Wigginton occurred a week ago, there’d be plenty of time to put, say, Jason Berken on the roster in place of whichever pitcher pulls out. But what if the O’s announced that trade yesterday afternoon?

Many of us think the one-player-per-team rule is silly, but MLB clearly doesn’t think so. Maybe one of these years, a fire sale will reveal just how serious they are about it.

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  1. Bob Timmermann said...

    Wasn’t Jeff Shaw the Reds only All-Star when he was traded to the Dodgers the Sunday before the break? He wore a Dodgers uniform for the first time in the All-Star Game.

  2. Kirby said...

    I don’t think they’d do anything.  After all, the A’s only representative this year (Cahill) pitches on Sunday, so is ineligible to pitch in the game.  (And it won’t be the first time in the last few years that the A’s only representative hasn’t played.  Duchsherer was left in the pen when he made the team, and I think there was another but I’m not sure.)

  3. DevilsAdvocate said...

    It has happened – the Reds went through this very scenario one year when they traded their lone All-Star, closer Jeff Shaw.

    As I recall, the story went like this: the free agent Shaw re-signed with the Reds in the 1997-98 offseason, at an acknowledged below-market rate, so he could stay with his hometown team (he’s from OH).  However, after he was named the Reds’ lone All-Star representative, GM Jim Bowden cashed him in and traded him to the Dodgers three days before the All-Star Game.  Shaw was angered and upset, and refused to speak to beat writers or reporters before leaving town.

    In this instance, at the last second one All-Star needed an injury replacement (Sammy Sosa?), and Reds 2b Bret Boone was named to the team.  So in the end the Reds were spared the embarrassment of having no All-Stars…though Boone didn’t get into the game.  And Bowden traded him away at the end of the year.

  4. DevilsAdvocate said...

    Bob – I’d forgotten that uniform bit.  Interesting.
    Just looked it up and Shaw apparently signed with the Reds as a free agent in 1996, not the 97-98 offseason.

  5. Jim C said...

    The really interesting situation would be if a player selected for the all-star team from the AL was traded to an NL team right before the break. Would he still be an all-star?

  6. Jeff Sackmann said...

    Bob and DevilsAdvocate – thanks, it seemed like something that might’ve come up, but the late 90s were a low point in my baseball fandom.  I’m sure that, given time and opportunity, MLB and/or the coaches would go out of their way to get a rep on the team, like Boone.

    Jim C – that’s a really good question.  I seem to recall that it’s happened, but don’t know when.  Somebody out there must know…

  7. Brett said...

    I can’t remember exactly how it all went down, but I believe the 2004 Kansas City Royals fit one, if not both, things discussed here.  If I recall correctly, Carlos Beltran was selected as an American League All-Star before being traded to Houston.  At first, I think he was denied a spot on the NL All-Star team, but then was later selected as an injury replacement.

    As for the Royals, Ken Harvey ended up on the roster.  I can’t imagine he would have been selected as a second representative for the Royals, so maybe he was picked after Beltran got traded.

    Or maybe I’m remembering the order of events somewhat incorrectly.  Maybe Beltran was traded BEFORE the All-Star rosters were announced, but otherwise WOULD HAVE been selected to the AL team based on the fan and/or player vote.  Then Ken Harvey may have been selected as the Royals lone representative since Beltran wasn’t available, but Beltran still may have been left off the initial NL roster since he would have barely played any games in that league.

  8. MikeS said...

    What happens in case of injury?  Injured players are still considered all stars, but there roster position is taken by another player picked by the manager.  He’s just as much an all star but that’s another post.  My question is, if the injured player is the only representative from his team does the manager have to pick someone from that team or has the rule been met since the original player is still considered an all star?

  9. Matt said...

    If a team’s lone all star rep is traded, and no injury replacements need to be made, rule 2010b states that Omar Infante will sign a 1 day contract with said team and be an honorary all star.

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