The Cubs and Cardinals squared off on the latest edition of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball,” with St. Louis earning a 5-0 victory over Chicago at Busch Stadium.
It was a fine game — didn’t suck; probably didn’t knock anyone off their feet — but mixed in was a rather bizarre segment in which Alex Rodriguez revealed his “All A-Rod Team,” comprised of All-Star-caliber players who fit a certain criteria established by the former major league slugger.
Why ESPN decided to air the random segment in the sixth inning of a June game between the Cubs and Cardinals is anyone’s guess. There wasn’t much of a tie-in, other than Major League Baseball’s ongoing All-Star voting. And to be honest, it didn’t seem like a lot of planning went into the whole thing.
In fact, folks on Twitter were a bit confused. The criteria for Rodriguez’s picks wasn’t too clear, although his explanations suggest he chose players based on some combination of production, durability, leadership, intangibles and championship pedigree.
That said, here’s who Rodriguez selected to his “All A-Rod Team,” which doesn’t include any pitchers or a bench:
C: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
1B: Eric Hosmer, San Diego Padres
2B: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
SS: Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
3B: Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers
OF: J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox
OF: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
OF: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
DH: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
Again, we’re a little hazy on the details of this exercise, but there are several things that stand out.
First, Rodriguez took Hosmer over more productive first basemen, including Freddie Freeman, who’s having a huge season for the Atlanta Braves. He cited Hosmer’s impact in the clubhouse.
Second, Rodriguez opted for Turner, who’s been injured for most of this season, over fellow high-profile third basemen Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant. He pointed to Turner’s postseason success, comparing the Dodgers star to a modern-day David Ortiz for his clutch heroics.
Buster Posey also might have a few questions about Perez being selected as Rodriguez’s backstop.
The real story here, though, is the omission of Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, who is in the midst of a sensational season and might be the second-best all-around player in baseball.
Of course, it’s hard to argue with the three outfielders selected over Betts. Mike Trout is the best player on the planet, and both J.D. Martinez and Aaron Judge have immense power, which Rodriguez evidently prefers in a corner outfield bat. It’s still interesting, though.
… well, as interesting as any debate can be when you’re talking about an “All A-Rod Team” segment that makes very little sense to begin with.