Monday, July 15, 2013

Today's High 5: MLB All-Star Break Edition

5. Any conversation about baseball's most overpaid players has to start and end with Alex Rodriguez. I mean, the guy has a $275 million contract, hasn't played a minute this season due to injury, looked washed up last year and soon could be suspended for taking PEDs. Yep, A-Rod is a good first choice.

But then who?

Josh Hamilton? Albert Pujols? Alfonso Soriano? Mark Teixeira? Johan Santana? All fine choices. And there are plenty of other candidates.

Why do few if any mention Joe Mauer?

The Twins catcher is the All-American boy. Good looking. Looks like he's worth $184 million. Multiple All-Star. Spurned bigger offers from other teams to stay with his hometown team. He's batting .320, ninth-best in the majors.

You look at all that and you don't want him to be in the conversation. But ...

Mauer has 32 RBI at the All-Star break. Thirty-two! And unlike many of the guys on many overpaid lists, he hasn't been injured.

You know who has more than 32 RBI so far this season?

++ 128 other ballplayers.

++ 15 other catchers ... including his own backup, Ryan Doumit (who also plays OF and DH) ... and Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy, Mauer's former backup.

++ at least 8 leadoff men, including one in the NL (Matt Carpenter of St. Louis), who has 13 more RBI than Mauer even though he bats behind the pitcher.

++ 5 other Twins, who combined don't make anywhere near $184 million.

++ Pujols, Soriano and even Hamilton, who has looked lost at the plate most of the season.

++ Brewers OF Ryan Braun, who has missed 30 games with injuries.

++ And, of course, Miguel Cabrera, who goes into the break with 95 RBI -- three times as many as Mauer. I never thought I'd say a guy with a $153.3 million contract was a bargain!

4. The Cubs and White Sox are a combined 27 games under .500 and 29 games out of first place. At least the Cubs have admitted they're rebuilding.

3. Giants ex-stud Tim Lincecum pitched a no-hitter against the anemic Padres on Saturday. He was allowed to throw 148 pitches.

148 pitches! Wow. I hope the no-no was worth it.

In the eighth and ninth innings, the one-time flamethrower's fastball was topping out at 91 mph. His mechanics have been messed up the last couple of years.

"There was no way he was coming out," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I was just praying he didn't hit the 150 mark."

He should be praying Lincicum avoids the disabled list.


AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. It's a very close two-man race between Mr. Triple Crown and Baltimore's Eric Davis. Right now, we'll give a slight edge to the guy who has his team in first place.

NL MVP: Yadier Molina, Cardinals. The No. 1 catcher in baseball -- ridiculously better than Mauer -- does so much behind the plate for the NL's best team that it almost doesn't matter what he does at the plate. Having said that, he also leads the league in batting. Narrow call over teammate Allen Craig and Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt.

AL Cy Young: Bartolo Colon, A's. Let's give him something to be happy about because there's word that he might get suspended for juicing. I never would have guessed that he'd need to cheat to get that body! Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez are right up there, too.

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw is only 8-6 but he leads the league in ERA, WHIP and BA against. Tough call over Patrick Corbin, Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Harvey and Adam Wainwright.

1. At 56-37, the Pirates have baseball's third-best record.

I want to believe in them.

Then again, I wanted to believe in them last season, too.

There's absolutely no way they'll find some way to go 24-45 in the second half to wrap up their 21st straight losing season, right?


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