MINNEAPOLIS — Manny Machado is likely to be named the Orioles’ sole representative to this year’s All-Star Game on Sunday, but what happens if he is traded before the game is played July 17 at Nationals Park?
The Orioles could conceivably be left without a representative in an All-Star Game being played just 40 miles away from downtown Baltimore.
Major League Baseball would have to cross that bridge if it occurs, and it is possible that the Orioles move Machado before the game. The team is fielding offers from seven teams, several of whom would like to acquire the three-time All-Star sooner than later because they are entrenched in close playoff races.
But there is no precedent for a fan-elected starter to be traded before the All-Star Game. Machado leads all American League shortstops in fan voting, and provided he holds off the Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa, he will be elected the AL’s starting shortstop.
If Machado was traded to a National League team before the All-Star Game, he could be ineligible to play. That’s what happened to right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who was named an NL All-Star as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 2014 but was traded to the Oakland Athletics before the All-Star Game.
He was introduced as an NL All-Star, but wore a generic All-Star Game jersey and cap.
What happened with Samardzija seems contrary to the theme of All-Star Game, the one event that can showcase all of the game’s top players, and Machado — who would be making his fourth All-Star Game and third in the past four seasons — is one of baseball’s best.
There was another relevant trade across leagues in 2004, when outfielder Carlos Beltran was traded from the Kansas City Royals to the Astros back when Houston was still an NL club.
But Beltran was traded June 24, more than a week before the All-Star Game teams were named, so it allowed him to be placed on the NL team and first baseman Ken Harvey to replace him to represent Kansas City.
Any Machado trade that comes after All-Star rosters are announced Sunday might not allow MLB the opportunity to name another Orioles representative to the game.
And even though one player from each team must be selected for All-Star rosters, teams sometimes go unrepresented in the game because of injuries, players pulling out or becoming unavailable.