The short answer to the title question, of course, is most likely, but what kind of writer would I be if I was willing to leave it at that?
Alex Rodriguez has turned the baseball world on its ear so far this season in his triumphant return from a year-long PED suspension. So far this season, he has 11 home runs and 28 RBIs. His slash line of .283/.384/.527 will be his best since 2009 if he keeps it up the rest of the season. Rodriguez has also done a few notable things this season, like pass Willie Mays on the all-time home run list and pass Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Barry Bonds on the all-time RBI list. He is second all-time in RBIs according to Major League Baseball’s ranking, although some lists still put him behind Ruth and Cap Anson.
A case could also be made for Rodriguez as the most valuable offensive weapon on the New York Yankees, who are surprisingly rising above the rest of the mediocre American League East. Rodriguez leads the team in batting average (Jacoby Ellsbury has not played enough games to qualify) and on-base percentage. He is second in home runs, slugging, and third in RBIs. Furthermore, he has been a consistent producer for a Yankees’ lineup that has to deal with the hot-and-cold runnings of Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, and Chase Headley and the frequent injuries to Ellsbury.
Rodriguez will not get into the All-Star Game via the fan vote. No longer a third baseman, he sits third in the designated hitter voting behind Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales. Behind Rodriguez are David Ortiz and Victor Martinez.
Cruz is a slam dunk All-Star for the second consecutive season. The other three, however, are not. The trio of Moralez, Ortiz, and Martinez have combined to hit 13 home runs and drive in 73 runs. Ortiz and Martinez are both batting well below .250 and Morales is only ahead of Rodriguez because the Kansas City Royals fan base would be willing to vote for a soggy, two-day old hot dog provided it were an option.
Morales is less than 300,000 votes behind Cruz despite the fact that Cruz blows him out of the water in every offensive category. I would not be surprised if Kansas City can muster up enough support to elect the undeserving Morales into the Summer Classic. Morales has been a perfectly passable for the Royals this year, and has bounced back well from a 2014 season that saw him bat just .218 with eight home runs in 98 games. He has no business in the All-Star Game, however. Can Royals’ manager Ned Yost, in good conscience, really select Morales over Rodriguez if it comes down to that?
The best case scenario for Major League Baseball, who I am sure wants no part of Rodriguez in the All-Star Game, is to have Morales pass Cruz in the fan vote. There will only be two designated hitters on the final roster. If Morales beats out Cruz, then the Mariners’ slugger will get the spot. If Cruz maintains his lead, however, Rodriguez has to take the second spot. He is just miles ahead of the next best designated hitters in the American League.
The All-Star Game is meant to tell the story of the first half of the baseball season. The story cannot be told without Alex Rodriguez. He has surpassed a handful of the game’s biggest names. Within the next two weeks, he will collect his 3,000th career hit. Say what you will about his records or statistics being tainted, Rodriguez has been one of the biggest stories this season, and is more deserving of an All-Star nod than all American DH’s save Nelson Cruz.
If the large majority of responsibly voting baseball fans do the right thing and vote Nelson Cruz into the starting lineup, Rodriguez will likely get the reserve spot. It may not be the most popular decision, but he is deserving. Many fans around the league have begun to put Rodriguez’s history in the past, and making him a part of the All-Star Game can be the next step in the rehabilitation process for Alex Rodriguez. While he has not done everything right in the past, Rodriguez has done everything right this year in his relations with the media, the fans, and his own teammates. He is producing again at an All-Star level, and should be rewarded as such.