Jayson Werth, you complete me

July, 10, 2009
7/10/09
3:41
PM ET
What a joke:
    Fresh from homering for the fourth straight game, the Philadelphia outfielder was picked for the NL All-Star team Friday as a replacement for injured New York Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran.

    The World Series champion Phillies put three outfielders on the NL roster for Tuesday night's game in St. Louis. Left fielder Raul Ibanez was elected by fans to start and center fielder Shane Victorino won a spot in Internet voting for reserves.

    It's the first time in 37 years that an NL team sent three outfielders to the All-Star Game -- Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Al Oliver went for Pittsburgh in 1972.

    Overall, this is the 13th time overall that a team had three outfielders in an All-Star game. The 1995 Cleveland Indians were the most recent to do it with Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle and Kenny Lofton.

    Werth homered Thursday night as the NL East-leading Phillies beat Cincinnati 9-6. He is batting .268 with 20 home runs and 54 RBIs. "His stats are definitely up there with the other guys," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who will guide the NL team, said after the win over the Reds. "He's been swinging the bat really good lately. He plays a good right field, has a strong arm. He's a talented kid."

Gee, let's see here ... On the one hand you've got (Hall of Famer) Roberto Clemente, (Hall of Famer) Willie Stargell, and (seven-time All-Star) Al Oliver. On the other you've got Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth. Are these outfields even remotely comparable?

Managers have long abused their right to select All-Stars, and many greater offenses have been committed than this one. But based on performance, Matt Kemp would have been a significantly better choice. Based on fan voting, Pablo Sandoval would have been a significantly better choice. Based on appearances, almost anyone would have been a better choice. t's not that Werth isn't a good player (he is) having a great season (ditto). This just looks bad.

Every year around this time, radio guys ask me how to "fix" the All-Star Game. Well, there's really not a lot to be done about it. The rosters are too big, but that's going to get worse before it gets better. The most obvious problem, by far, is that the All-Star Game winds up featuring too many players who people don't really care about. And if you don't believe me -- and I write this with a great deal of respect -- just wait until Jayson Werth comes up to bat next Tuesday night.

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