Detroit manager Jim Leyland has taken some heat from A's fans for the snub of A's third baseman Josh Donaldson from the American League All-Star team. Sunday morning in Cleveland, Leyland spoke specifically about Donaldson's candidacy.
"There’s a kid that got shortchanged, but there was nothing we could do about it," Leyland said, according to MLB.com. "You’ve got Miguel Cabrera, and the players voted (Manny) Machado, and then you’ve got him, and you’ve still got (Evan) Longoria and (Adrian) Beltre. I mean, he just fell in. And it’s too bad, because this kid…I’ll go on record saying this kid’s an All-Star this year but it just didn’t (work out). I can’t have four third basemen. It’s too bad.
"He’s just a good, hard-nosed all-around player, and he’s getting better all the time. He’s growing up right before everybody’s eyes. I was impressed with him last year. We talked about him last year. This kid, I really have a lot of respect for him. I don’t know the kid, but he’s strong, he’s got power. He’s a perfect corner guy, a very hard-nosed guy, and he’s a scrapper defensively. I like him a lot, and he truly could’ve been an All-Star this year. It just didn’t work out.
"I’m not defending anything, because I got three picks. And sometimes, whether people want to believe it or not, sometimes those picks may be from teams that don’t have anybody, so you don’t really get any."
Fair enough, but what was truly a head-scratcher was Leyland's decision to have the A.L.'s Final Vote be between five middle relievers in Toronto's Steve Delabar, the New York Yankees' David Robertson, Boston's Koji Uehara, Texas' Tanner Scheppers and Detroit's Joaquin Benoit.
Why not make it a more intriguing run-off between the likes of Donaldson, Longoria and Beltre, with two others? I'm not suggesting Donaldson would have had the national "name" to beat out the other two and win the spot, but being on the ballot would have been a deserving honor just the same.