Mar 15, 2013, 11:07 PM EST
Let’s face it: the World Baseball Classic’s uphill climb as an event worth watching wouldn’t gain any momentum if Team USA ran away with it.
That’s why it has to be pretty exciting for MLB to see Puerto Rico advance past the U.S. and join the Dominican Republic, Japan and The Netherlands in the WBC semifinals. While baseball hardly needs a boost in the Dominican and Japan, it’s standing in Puerto Rico and Europe figures to get at least a modest boost thanks to this month’s tournament.
In the short term especially, it’s money more than talent than MLB is hoping to gain from Europe. But getting Puerto Rican kids more interested in baseball would be a nice boon for the league. It’s no coincidence that all of Puerto Rico’s stars on the field Thursday were over 30 years old. The only actual position prospect on the team is the Twins’ Eddie Rosario. And while I like Houston’s Xavier Cedeno as a lefty specialist, none of the pitchers would seem to have grand futures in MLB, either.
Puerto Rico just hasn’t produced much major league talent since MLB put its prospects into the draft. MLB teams can no longer set up there and develop the players themselves, as they’ve long done in the Dominican Republic. A nice run in the WBC isn’t going to undo all of the damage, but it’s a little something to try and build on.
The Dutch island of Curacao is already producing talent and even more kids there could be inspired to pick up a baseball as Andrelton Simmons, Jurickson Profar and Xander Bogaerts hopefully develop into major league stars. Throw in Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop and The Netherlands’ infield could well rival the Dominican group come 2017.
As for the U.S. team, well, this was probably the best way for it to go down; it was competitive yet far from dominant. One imagines that the U.S. players will hear it from the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in the clubhouse over these next several months. Whether that inspires a few more stars to suit up in 2017 remains to be seen; odds are the 2013 results will be largely forgotten a year from now. But I believe the next WBC will be viewed more favorably by the players. It’s not that we’ve gotten particularly high quality baseball from the teams, but we’ve seen a bunch of very competitive games and boisterous crowds. I think it’s the case that some of the guys who opted out — the Mike Trouts, Bryce Harpers and Prince Fielders — have watched these games and felt like they’re missing out.
Nov 20, 2014, 10:15 PM EST
The Mariners added some bullpen depth, claiming Edgar Olmos off waivers from the Marlins on Thursday.
Nov 20, 2014, 9:25 PM EST
The Padres and Royals made a trade ahead of the 40-man roster deadline.
Nov 20, 2014, 8:35 PM EST
The Rays are expected to eschew Jose Molina from their 40-man roster ahead of the midnight deadline.
Nov 20, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Jose Canseco made up the whole thing about his reattached finger falling off and wanting to sell it on the Internet.
Nov 20, 2014, 6:55 PM EST
The White Sox are apparently one of three teams showing interest in free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Nov 20, 2014, 6:05 PM EST
The Pirates picked up Pedro Florimon off waivers from the Nationals on Thursday evening.
Nov 20, 2014, 5:17 PM EST
Wheeler made his big-league debut this season when injuries wrecked the Yankees’ roster.
Nov 20, 2014, 4:46 PM EST
As recently as mid-September manager Walt Weiss was talking Nicasio up as a reliever for 2015.
Nov 20, 2014, 4:30 PM EST
Could a team that is unloading salary go nine-figures on an outfielder?
Nov 20, 2014, 3:45 PM EST
Belisario served as the White Sox’s closer for part of this season.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:15 PM EST
Zeid underwent season-ending foot surgery in July.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:01 PM EST
And it’s not at all clear when or if those experiments will translate into rules changes.
Nov 20, 2014, 2:05 PM EST
Don’t bother unpacking.
Nov 20, 2014, 1:06 PM EST
With the Tigers out, the Jays are in.
Nov 20, 2014, 12:50 PM EST
Presumed front-runners may have changed their minds.
Nov 20, 2014, 12:14 PM EST
Zimmermann has just one season remaining until he’s eligible for free agency and the 28-year-old right-hander is in line for a massive payday.
Nov 20, 2014, 11:34 AM EST
The Cuban outfielder is letting his market develop, it seems.
Nov 20, 2014, 10:45 AM EST
For now at least there doesn’t seem to be a clear front-runner.
Nov 20, 2014, 10:23 AM EST
What’s not to like?
Nov 20, 2014, 9:24 AM EST
The new commish takes over on January 25.
- Report: Red Sox offer Jon Lester six years, $110-120 million 66
- Report: “There is a 90 percent chance that Pablo Sandoval will sign with the Red Sox” 121
- A’s sign Billy Butler to three-year, $30 million contract 83
- Cardinals reportedly joining pursuit of Jon Lester 65
- Giancarlo Stanton’s contract is backloaded. REALLY backloaded. 148
- Braves and Cardinals swap Jason Heyward and Shelby Miller in blockbuster deal 156
- Blue Jays sign Russell Martin to five-year, $82 million deal 135
- Done Deal: Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins agree on the biggest contract in baseball history 124
- Biggest deal in baseball history: Giancarlo Stanton close to 13-year, $325 million contract with Marlins (182)
- Braves and Cardinals swap Jason Heyward and Shelby Miller in blockbuster deal (156)
- Giancarlo Stanton’s contract is backloaded. REALLY backloaded. (148)
- Blue Jays sign Russell Martin to five-year, $82 million deal (135)
- Done Deal: Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins agree on the biggest contract in baseball history (124)