The temptation for the Cubs to complain about their lack of All-Star representation was offset by the reality of better competition.
That’s what they said collectively Sunday after learning that closer Wade Davis — who wasn’t a part of their 2016 World Series title team — was their lone selection on the National League team.
"When I saw the names, I had no arguments," said Joe Maddon, who will manage the NL team July 11 in Miami.
It’s a major contrast from last summer, when the Cubs had seven players selected — including four voted in by fans as starters.
"Frankly, we haven’t had many guys who were all that deserving," said pitcher Jake Arrieta, a 2016 All-Star. "We’ve had guys play OK, but … I don’t think anyone is really worried about the All-Star Game.
"Being where we’re at in the division, getting ourselves back (in first place) should be everyone’s primary goal this time."
The Cubs could add another player if Kris Bryant wins the NL Final Vote competition. Bryant lost his lead at third base in the final week to the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado.
Bryant would like to go for a third consecutive season. Giants manager Bruce Bochy picked him as a reserve in 2015, and the fans voted him in as a starter in 2016.
"It will be interesting, but I know there are Cubs fans out there, and they seem to show up," said Bryant, who admitted the Cubs would have "maybe a little chip on the shoulder" over the lack of representation.
This marks the third selection for Davis, 31, who didn’t pitch in the 2016 game because of an injury. The Royals traded him to the Cubs in December for outfielder Jorge Soler.
"It was awesome," Davis said of his 2015 experience, in which he pitched a scoreless inning. "It was the most nervous I’d ever been. It was a really cool experience getting to be in a clubhouse with all those talented players, Hall of Famers and the long list of them."
Davis is 2-0 this season with a 1.93 ERA, 16 saves and 42 strikeouts in 28 innings.