Shark: A National League All-Star now on an AL team
Former Cubs righty just traded to A's expected to represent NL but not participate
The bottom line is that it wouldn't be fair for Jeff Samardzija, traded to the Athletics on Saturday after spending the entire season with the Cubs, to knock a deserving American League pitcher off the AL All-Star roster.
And Samardzija can't pitch for the National League, since Oakland, featuring the best record in the Major Leagues, has a vested interest in seeing the AL win and secure home-field advantage in the World Series.
As a result, Samardzija, who had a 2.83 ERA in 17 starts for the Cubs, will be able to attend the Midsummer Classic at Minnesota's Target Field and will represent the NL, but he will not participate in the game. He'll be replaced on the active roster, just as a pitcher who starts the Sunday before the All-Star Game is honored as part of the squad but doesn't play.
"Random happening," Samardzija said. "I don't think anyone knew I was going to be an All-Star before the trade. It just happened to be that way. I won't get to pitch, which is a bummer, but that's all right. I'll just go through the ceremony and then jump over to the AL dugout with an NL jersey on and have fun with the six other guys we have over there."
"I think that the fact that he was recognized for his performance in and of itself speaks to that; good for him," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria.
There have been at least three previous occasions in which a player who made the All-Star team on the basis of a strong first half with one team has been wearing another uniform by the time the Classic was played.
Left-hander Cliff Lee opened the 2010 season with the Mariners and was traded to the Rangers just four days before the best players in baseball squared off at Angel Stadium. Lee pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning for the AL, recording one strikeout.
Reliever Jeff Shaw went from the Reds to the Dodgers three games before the 1998 Classic at Coors Field. He came in to pitch the eighth and gave up one run on consecutive singles to Rafael Palmeiro, Omar Vizquel and Sandy Alomar Jr.
Outfielder Carlos Beltran was with the Royals when the 2004 season started, and he finished fourth among outfielders in AL All-Star balloting. However, he was traded to the Astros as part of a three-team deal on June 24.
So when NL manager Jack McKeon needed to add an outfielder because of an injury to Ken Griffey Jr., he chose Beltran, partly because of how well he had been playing and partly because that year's game was being played at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
At the time, the Commissioner's Office said it was the first time a player had been chosen for one All-Star team and ended up playing on the other side.
Beltran entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fourth. He singled and scored, then stayed in the game in center field, getting one more at-bat before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
In theory, Samardzija could still be added as an injury replacement for the AL.
"You care about putting a whole season together, but this means you got off to a good start, your first few months went well," Samardzija said. "Most importantly, it's respect from your fellow players. That feels good. It means they're noticing what you're doing and they respect it, and that means a lot."
Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.