The Mets and the Yankees have the two largest payrolls in Major League Baseball, with more than $600 million in combined player salaries, according to Spotrac. Luxury tax bills, which will be finalized later this year, will push the combined number well over $700 million.
For all of that money, the teams had a total of three players selected to the rosters of this year’s All-Star Game, which were announced on Sunday night. Pitcher Gerrit Cole and the injured outfielder Aaron Judge will represent the Yankees at the game in Seattle on July 11. First baseman Pete Alonso will represent the Mets.
Last year, with both teams thriving, they combined for 10 All-Star selections.
The Yankees, who are 46-38 and currently in position for the American League’s third wild-card spot in the playoffs, have had at least one player appear in 90 of the 92 All-Star Games, which have been held since 1933. But because of injuries and rest, it remains an open question if they will have anyone participate in this year’s game.
Judge, who was elected as a starter for the A.L., has 19 home runs but has been limited to 49 games because of a toe injury that will keep him out indefinitely. Cole, who is having a stellar season with a 2.79 E.R.A., pitched Sunday, and will presumably pitch next on July 7, which would put him one day short of his normal rest.
Despite the rest issue, Cole talked as if he intended to play in the game.
“One of these days, I would really like to start it,” Cole told reporters over the weekend. “I’ve got to check that one off. I’m not sure how that shakes out over the next week. I know there’s a lot of deserving guys out there.”
His competition to start would include the former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi, who is thriving for the Texas Rangers, and Shohei Ohtani, the two-way superstar of the Los Angeles Angels who started for the A.L. last year.
For the Mets, who have been a colossal disappointment at 38-46 despite their record payroll, Alonso is a reasonable choice as their lone representative. His .221 batting average is the worst of his career, and he trails outfielder Brandon Nimmo and shortstop Francisco Lindor for the team’s lead in wins above replacement, but his 25 home runs are second in the National League to Matt Olson of the Atlanta Braves.
Additionally, Alonso announced that he would participate in the Home Run Derby on July 11, an event he has dominated in the past. He won the derby in 2019 and 2021 and was a quarterfinalist last year. While the formats change from year to year, making comparisons difficult, his 174 home runs in three contests are the most combined homers in the event’s history.
Manager Buck Showalter told reporters over the weekend that he thought the All-Star selection, and participation in the Home Run Derby, could help bring Alonso out of his recent slump.
“I hate to see good people beat themselves up,” Showalter said. “But I think it is good timing for him to be reminded how good of a player he is. I think he is one of the league leaders in unluckiness, so to speak. Pete is as real as it gets.”
The Mets came into the season with World Series aspirations only to have the team’s owner, Steven A. Cohen, acknowledge last week that they could be sellers at the trading deadline. Putting some salt in that wound: Atlanta, which leads the Mets by 18.5 games in the N.L. East despite spending more than $100 million less in payroll than their division rival, will send an M.L.B.-high eight players to the All-Star Game.