The Question of Deserving It

Tim Wakefield was selected today to his first-ever All-Star Game, joining five Boston teammates. The question, of course, is whether he deserves it. Wakefield is on pace for 20+ wins and leads the league in victories, but he has a 4.30 ERA that is right in line with what you'd expect from him — and is actually worse than what he posted last season, as well as 1995, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. He wasn't selected to the All-Star Game in any of those seasons. His ERA is good for a 108 ERA+, which isn't particularly All-Star worthy either.

But Wakefield is closing in on the Sox' records for most wins and most strikeouts, he had the bad fortune of having his 1995 season start too late to warrant All-Star consideration. He has been one of the most important parts of two championship-winning teams — and has been consistently much better over his career than some of the flashes in pans that are selected each year to All-Star teams.

In one sense, Wakefield probably doesn't deserve to be on this All-Star team, but he deserves to have at least an All-Star apearance. I'm happy it's finally happening this year.

He joins more clear cut selections in teammates Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jason Bay, Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon.

On the Yankee side, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter are heading to the All-Star Game.

Congratulations to all nine of the honorees.

14 comments… add one

  • Not sure that I agree with the Beckett selection either. There are a handful of guys who have had better first halves than him. Weaver, Blackburn, and Lee to name a few. The exposure of playing on the sox and yanks has its benefits though…

    sam-YF July 5, 2009, 4:42 pm
  • Since May 1 Beckett has essentially been the best pitcher in baseball, except for maybe Justin Verlander. Beckett was deserving.

    Atheose July 5, 2009, 5:19 pm
  • Very happy for Wake. I’ll think of it as a lifetime achievement selection of sorts. How many questionable picks have there been, either in retrospect or even at the time? Mike Williams is a TWO-TIME all-star for crying out loud. I think there’s a place in the midsummer classic for Wakefield.

    FenSheaParkway July 5, 2009, 5:52 pm
  • It’s not a question of whether or not Beckett was deserving, of course he was. So were guys like Sabathia and Burnett. Hell, even Alfredo Aceves is deserving of a spot. It’s just that Jered Weaver and others are clearly *more* deserving, and were left out.
    Not like it really matters all that much, anyway.

    AndrewYF July 5, 2009, 6:18 pm
  • “It’s not a question of whether or not Beckett was deserving, of course he was.”
    I agree, I think there is a certain issue of spreading the spots around the league. There are 2 guys from the sox rotation and 5 overall while other teams only have 1 or 2 players with guys staying home who have better numbers than either wake or beckett.
    Again, not really worth parsing this too much. It will be nice to have the 5 sox playing so the yanks can have home field advantage come late October!

    sam-YF July 5, 2009, 6:49 pm
  • jeez, the AL bench may be better than the starting 9.

    sf rod July 5, 2009, 7:54 pm
  • I know Wake has been a consummate professional. He seems like a good guy, a good teammate, and he’s been an important Red Sox for many years. All this being said, I don’t care about this selection. I can be sentimental with the best of them, but this one doesn’t move me. I think it is because Wake has two rings and I have, as I have grown older, come to recognize the ASG as something that gets it wrong more often than one would hope.

    SF July 5, 2009, 8:22 pm
  • I didn’t expect Wake to make the team, but I’m glad he did. He’s a unique player, an interesting presence and good story, plus he is consistently UNDER-rated as a starter, so this provides a measure of justice. The pitcher who is a team’s all-time leader in so many categories by definition is special, and the All-Star game is for special players. W-L is, as the stat guys will remind us, not the best measure of a pitcher’s effectiveness, though I don’t recall many people pointing that out about Wake last season when he had the best Opp BA of the Red Sox starters but ended up with a losing record because of lousy support and bad bullpen work. Still, does anyone want an All-Star game where all the pitchers have 1-5 records but look great on the stat sheet? The league leader in victories has a prima facie argument to be on the team. It still means sonething. The fact that Wakefield’s selection is the headline in so many of the stories today validates the selection, to some extent. I’m betting that in 50 years, people will still remember Tim Wakefield, and Jared Weaver will be completely forgotten. If I’m wrong, than Weaver will be on other All-Star teams.
    So congratulations, Wake.

    Jack Marshall July 5, 2009, 9:31 pm
  • This is bullshit next they be giving Gold Gloves to the same guys every year…..

    WAY...SF July 5, 2009, 10:20 pm
  • I think Wakefield means more to me because of his role on the 1995 team, the first winning Sox team in my memory. The fact that he came from nowhere, plucked off the scrap heap. He’s kind of like David Ortiz in that sense, just not as flashy — in personality or in stats. It’s nice to see him get a recognition he deserves, even if its one a lot of people who don’t deserve it get (and a lot of people who do deserve it don’t get).

    Paul SF July 6, 2009, 8:32 am
  • “…probably doesn’t deserve to be on this All-Star team, but he deserves to have at least an All-Star apearance”
    I think this captures Wakefield’s situation pretty well. Actually, I bet this can be said about a lot of older consistent performers but few of them get this kind of “career-achievement” selection to the ASG precisely because if they were not superlative enough to make it in their primes, they certainly aren’t likely to stand out sufficiently in a late-career season. (Are we even in “late career” for Wakefield?? I ask semi-facetiously only because I get the sense he can pitch until he is 55 if he wants to)
    On the topic, I have no problem with Wakefield’s inclusion. The ASG, as distinct from the HoF, is not really something to be taken all too seriously. Its membership changes every year (even if not as much as it probably should if one’s selection were judged solely by first-half performance in a given season) and, like the Olympics, much of the fun with it is in the stories of the first-timers who are there and the long-timers who have been there perennially and how much of a thrill they all still get from being selected.
    This year, I bet that maybe even more than young first-timers who might take it all for granted, Wakefield will probably get more of a thrill out of the AS-weekend then anyone. And since he is a tough guy to dislike, it will be nice to see him soak it all in.
    Plus, I’d love to see a Wakefield-Pujols match-up. It would be sort of like watching out of one squinted eye at a car accident waiting to happen. I could easily see it ending in a head-shaking befuddled Pujols walking away from the batters box or a 500-ft HR blasting out of the park.

    IronHorse July 6, 2009, 9:26 am
  • Any reason why they make the all-star rosters a fixed number? Is it the locker room space? I’m for including as many deserving people as possible. I can see the argument for Wake and for those who have had better half seasons. Why not expand the rosters to ensure no one is deserving is left out?

    Nick-YF July 6, 2009, 9:33 am
  • I think this captures Wakefield’s situation pretty well. Actually, I bet this can be said about a lot of older consistent performers but few of them get this kind of “career-achievement” selection to the ASG precisely because if they were not superlative enough to make it in their primes, they certainly aren’t likely to stand out sufficiently in a late-career season.
    That’s why I thought Jeter would get the MVP award in 2006: he may not have been the absolute best candidate, but he certainly deserves ONE in his career.

    Atheose July 6, 2009, 10:45 am
  • I look at it this way:
    I can’t remember a year when the AS rosters have been spot on, or even close. I’ve given up expecting to see it and I’ve given up voting.
    Here’s the way I look at it. There are, what, 39 players on each team? You figure that most of the player who are named are at least SOMEWHAT deserving.
    I suppose you could categorize everyone on the ballot as:
    A. Absolutely must be there
    B. Probably should be there
    C. I can see that
    D. That’s a bit of a stretch
    E. That’s a huge stretch
    F. No fucking way
    I figure that as long as there are no “Fs,” the only ones who come from the “E” category are the mandatory team reps (Oakland’s Andrew Bailey, for example), I’m OK with it.
    It is and always has been a popularity contest.
    Wakefield might not be one of the 10 best starters in the AL this year, but he is at least deserving, and IMHO, that’s good enough.

    Andrew Bailey recalled from P’tucket, to make his ML debut at 1st base tonight.

    I'mBillMcNeal July 6, 2009, 5:22 pm

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