All 16 MLB Players With New $100 Million Deals Will Miss 2022 All-Star Game

Money may buy happiness but it can’t buy a spot in the All-Star Game.

Unless they become emergency replacements, none of the 16 players who signed nine-figure contracts during the off-season will be heading to Dodger Stadium for the July 19 game.

The group includes Max Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner whose three-year, $130 million deal with the New York Mets pays him a record $43.3 million this season, and Freddie Freeman, who went from World Series champion with the Atlanta Braves to free agent signee with the Los Angeles Dodgers (six years at $162 million).

Nor did Matt Olson, Freeman’s successor in Atlanta, land on the NL squad. The day after he arrived in a March trade from the Oakland Athletics, the Braves gave him an eight-year deal worth $168 million.

Also absent from the National League All-Star roster are Kris Bryant, like Freeman a former MVP, plus Philadelphia free agent signee Nick Castellanos.

American Leaguers with big paychecks but no 2022 All-Star invitations include Trevor Story, Javy Baez, Byron Buxton, Robbie Ray, Wander Franco, Toronto pitchers Kevin Gausman and José Berrios, Minnesota’s Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton, and Texas teammates Marcus Semien and Corey Seager.

Another $100 million guy, Houston designated hitter Yordan Álvarez, will miss the All-Star Game too, thanks to a hand injury that sent him to the Houston injured list July 10. So the Midsummer Classic will have to do without the former AL Rookie of the Year and AL Championship Series MVP.

Always a numbers game, the All-Star selection process has been controversial for years.

Among other things, its rules require at least one representative from each of the 30 teams. That means players like Colorado’s C.J. Cron made it, giving the National League an overload of first basemen while keeping Freeman and Washington’s Josh Bell off the NL roster.

Since the lowly Kansas City Royals need a rep, spray-hitting outfielder Andrew Benintendi is an All-Star with only a handful of home runs.

Now that Scherzer is showing the form that earned him four previous All-Star Game starts, he is a strong candidate to replace any pitcher who works next Sunday, thereby disqualifying himself from the Tuesday night game.

The 37-year-old right-hander, who missed seven weeks with a strained left oblique, boosted his 2022 record to 6-1 and lowered his earned run average to 2.15 by working the first seven innings of a 4-1 Mets win in Atlanta Monday night.

Freeman, a Southern California native who signed with the Dodgers after a 12-year tenure in Atlanta, would be playing on his home turf if selected. But the presence of four Los Angeles teammates may have contributed to his surprising exclusion.

Injuries that sidelined Bryant for most of this season made Cron the logical Colorado choice. The Rockies had hoped for prolific power production from Bryant, who received a seven-year, $182 million deal.

The Philadelphia Phillies, who also play in a bandbox ballpark, were counting on Castellanos to copy the 34-homer form he gave the 2021 Reds after signing him to a five-year, $100 million deal in March. So far, they’ve been disappointed.

So have the Texas Rangers, who plucked both Seager and Semien off the list of super shortstops from the last free-agent field. The former got $325 million, spread over 10 years, to leave the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Semien left Toronto after a 45-homer campaign for a seven-year, $175-million pact – and then floundered in his new surroundings.

Trevor Story, who got six years and $140 million from the Boston Red Sox, also went homerless for the first month. Like Semien, he moved from short to second with his new team.

Another shortstop who switched leagues, Baez was a bust during his Detroit first half. Like Story, he got six years and $140 million from his new team but didn’t bring along his former All-Star form.

Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco, the youngest player in the American League, has shown flashes of potential but also battled injuries this season. The 21-year-old shortstop got a rare nine-figure contract extension to keep him with the Rays for the foreseeable future: 11 years and $182 million. But he’s on the IL for five to eight weeks after surgery to repair an injured wrist.

The highest-paid shortstop in the game, Correa, will also miss the All-Star Game. His three-year Minnesota Twins contract pays him $105,300,000 contract with the Minnesota Twins, with an annual average salary of $35,100,000. But the 27-year-old Puerto Rican slugger has been idled with a finger contusion, the latest in a string of injuries that have also included a torn thumb ligament, back soreness, and a fractured rib.

Now in his eighth season, Correa has played in as many as 150 games only once.

Minnesota teammate Byron Buxton got seven years and $100,000,000 from the Twins but has battled all season to keep is batting average from falling nearly 100 points from last year’s .302. He has hit with power, reaching a career-best 23 homers a week before the All-Star Game, but that wasn’t enough to win a spot on a squad flush with fellow outfielders.

Two of the three pitchers with new nine-figure deals work for the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that hasn’t won a pennant since 1993. Gausman got a five-year, $110 million deal, while Berrios got an extension worth $131 million over seven seasons. But neither is pitching like an All-Star.

Even Ray, who led the American League in ERA and strikeouts while wearing Toronto livery last season, has been a disappointment.

The Seattle Mariners, out of the postseason picture since 2001, had hoped he’d help pitch them into the playoffs. That’s why they gave him a five-year, $115 million to go west. Ray leads his league in starts and innings but his overall performance is not the same as it was in 2021.

The “Sweet Sixteen of Snubs” are not alone. Zack Wheeler, now in the third year of a five-year, $118 million pact with the Philadelphia Phillies, also wasn’t picked for the 2022 All-Star Game – even after leading the National League in strikeouts and innings a year ago.

A crowded contingent of relief pitchers reduced the need for starters, keeping Wheeler out after he made the team for the 2021 game in Denver.