CHICAGO • As if the league-low ERA and league-high wins weren’t ornamental enough, the Cardinals and their league-leading pitching staff could have as many as four representatives at next week’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
Catcher Yadier Molina, the shepherd for the staff, was selected by his peers for his seventh All-Star appearance, Major League Baseball announced Monday, and joining him on the roster will be starter Michael Wacha and closer Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal received more votes from fellow players than any other reliever, and Wacha was chosen for the team by Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will lead the National League. That trio joins shortstop Jhonny Peralta and outfielder Matt Holliday, who were elected to start by fans.
And there could be a sixth Cardinal.
Carlos Martinez, the club’s first-year starter, has been included in baseball’s “Final Vote,” and the fans can select him for the last spot on the roster. The ballot also includes reigning NL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki, Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto and Mets closer Juerys Familia.
Martinez called his chances “complicated.”
“I’m excited,” he added.
Voting for the final spot began Monday night and continues through 3 p.m. Friday afternoon. The Cardinals have approached Kansas City about unifying Show-Me State efforts to rally votes for Martinez and Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas.
The five certain All-Stars are the most the Cardinals have had at the game since way back in 2013, when they sent six players to the midsummer classic at New York’s Citi Field. Last year, the Cardinals had four All-Stars selected for the game in Minnesota.
The Cardinals carry baseball’s best record, but it has been built by their arms. The Cardinals’ staff has a 2.59 ERA, the lowest in the majors and the only staff with an ERA less than 2.90. Although pitching most of the season without ace Adam Wainwright, the rotation is the only one in baseball with an ERA less than 3.00 (2.79). The bullpen’s NL-best 2.16 ERA is anchored by Rosenthal’s 0.70 ERA and 24 chances.
“We’ve got a great staff, and I think it shows in the numbers that they’ve been putting up,” Wacha said. “This is a good spot in the middle of the season to be rewarded for this.”
For Rosenthal and Wacha this is their first All-Star selections, and it is the first time in his young career that 23-year-old Martinez has been considered for the game.
Former Cardinal starter Shelby Miller was voted onto the NL squad by his peers. Albert Pujols received the second-most player votes at first base in the American League, and he’ll start the game in place of injured first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
CARDS LAND 12th-ROUNDER
The Cardinals have an agreement in place with 12th-round pick Logan Schlesener, a lefty from Rogersville, Mo. The deal, which will be completed after the lefthander passes a physical later this week, is for more than the slot value of $100,000, but because of where he was drafted the Cardinals have some elasticity to fit him under their spending limit. The first $100,000 of Schlesener’s bonus will not count against the Cardinals’ cap. The Cardinals will avoid spending more than $7.76 million and losing a draft pick for 2016.Schlesener, 18, was an All-State pitcher who committed to Arkansas.
Outfielder Matt Holliday (torn quadriceps) traveled with the team to Chicago but was not allowed to join them at the ballpark because “he’s in quarantine,” Matheny said. Holliday had a virus that kept him from testing his leg as planned Monday. … Jon Jay (wrist) has been prescribed a complete week off “to see how he responds to that,” Mozeliak said. He returned to his home in Florida and the team will look to re-evaluate him after the All-Star break. … Before Saturday’s game, several relievers swapped jerseys as a way to change the team’s luck after losing four consecutive. Rosenthal and lefty Randy Choate exchanged jerseys, and both Wacha and Seth Maness wore Kevin Siegrist’s jersey out on the field for the national anthem.