The New York Yankees will send two players to the 2023 All-Star Game, though one will be non-participatory (Aaron Judge). The other, Gerrit Cole, is slated to start Saturday, and probably won't throw in the game, either.
The Yankees shouldn't feel too ashamed, though, considering two is the maximum number of All-Stars a team can have. Now, to take a sip of hot coffee and read this section entitled "Atlanta Braves" -- WHAT?!?
Fortunately for the Yankees, there's still history left to be written. Not only is a team's number of All-Stars not determinative of their final place in the standings, but the current rosters will absorb several body blows before they're finalized.
Ultra-snub Wander Franco of the Rays is probably the most egregiously excluded player, and he'll probably be the first one in after Judge/injured Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez hit the pine. After those moves, several pitchers will ask out, a few disinterested parties will mysteriously disappear (like every Astro returning to the 2021 All-Star Game who had no interest in being heckled), and 8-10 new names will get the chance to wear this year's majestic teal jerseys.
Unfortunately, in order to get extra representation, the Yankees will have to hope for a bullpen shuffle, thanks in large part to the season-long mediocrity of the Boston Red Sox. These Sox are a bizarre team. Their offense, by and large, mashes; that same offense also disappears for 10 days at a time on occasion. Their rotation is led by Brayan Bello and James Paxton, but has been dragged down at the back end by Corey Kluber and Nick Pivetta. Occasionally, they've been well over .500. A few times, they've been under that mark. No matter what, though, they always seem to march back toward equilibrium. In exchange for their efforts, they've been granted just one All-Star: not slugger Masataka Yoshida or outfielder Alex Verdugo, but closer Kenley Jansen, who's been ... alright.
Because the Sox needed a rep, the league stepped in and awarded Jansen with his fourth career appearance. That should make Clay Holmes and Michael King feel ... bad.
Yankees' Clay Holmes (or Michael King?) deserves All-Star Game spot
Jansen, under normal circumstances, is not a deserving All-Star. While the introduction of the pitch clock hasn't completely unraveled him, as theorized, he hasn't shone brightly, sporting a 1.43 WHIP and 3.45 ERA. He's limited damage nicely, but those are the kind of numbers that indicate someone's hanging on by a thread rather than dominating.
If he pitched his home games anywhere other than Fenway Park, he'd be a cinch All-Star; on the road, Jansen has a 1.08 ERA in 16.2 innings. In Boston? 6.75 in 12 innings with seven walks and a pair of homers.
Holmes is the obvious Yankee who was most affected by the Jansen decision -- and even the national, Yankees-despising media has beaten that drum. Despite a difficult April, his numbers sit well within the range that merits roster inclusion. Old-school fans might balk at his low save total (nine), but as a partial closer on a committee, his 41 Ks in 33.1 innings and 1.17 WHIP/2.43 ERA are far more important.
And, while we're at it, what about 2022's biggest snub, Michael King? After 3.1 (!!) brilliant innings of bulk against the Cardinals Saturday night, he's rebounded from a tough stretch to strike out 48 in 44.1 innings pitched while maintaining a 1.13 WHIP and 2.84 ERA.
There are certainly other bullpen aces who were bumped off the roster by Jansen; Angels closer Carlos Estevez was particularly peeved. Holmes (or King) could certainly be given the nod over the next few days, but MLB's primary motivation isn't, "Let's add more Yankees so the Seattle crowd can boo a couple more times!" Jansen's standing in Holmes' way, but so is the league's logic. Wouldn't count on them reversing course to help the Bombers.