Should Major League Baseball bow out of the World Baseball Classic now?
Finally, the U.S.A. has won the Classic in 2017, but at what cost. It came at a very high cost for the Seattle Mariners. The M’s sent 12 players to the Classic. More than half of these players are the “stars” or the most pivot able players on the roster. These players include, Nelson Cruz, Robby Cano, Felix Hernandez, Drew Smyly, Juan Segura and Edwin Diaz. Every one of these players except Diaz, who has had an up and down beginning of the season ended up on the DL. Pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Sam Gaviglio were slated to be starters but never even made the big club and were sent down to the Mariners minor league affiliate. Only after injuries to 3 of the M’s starters were they brought back up. Dan Altavilla was another young Mariners reliever who had a knockout season in 2016 is now a yo-yo, bouncing from Majors to Minors and back and forth again.
General Jerry DiPito was very encouraging about his players participation. I wonder how he feels now in hindsight. His team has only made it to .500% once this season and currently sits second to last in his division and 9 games out of front running Houston who sent only 5 players, Nori Aoiki (part time player), Carlos Beltran(batting 50 points below career average), Carlos Correa, Jose Allltuve, and Luke Gregerson(sitting with .687 era, double his career stats.)
Overall, many other teams have had issues with players who played in the WBC. Even in years past, there has been a fan displeasure over “their” teams players participation in the Classic. The Seattle Mariners fans should feel this way, I know I do. There was a time when Carlos Beltran, when he played in Seattle, was not allowed to play in the Classic by management.
Then there is the other side. The players side. Most of them like the idea of playing with others from their same country of origin but this is not about what the players like but what is good for the team they play for and have signed contracts with and the teams fans.
Even in other sports, teams and leagues are starting to bow out of other venues. Take the NHL, who will not play in the next Olympics.
The WBC is a great idea but not at the cost of players health and the franchises they play for. When attendance and revenue go down, so will the World Baseball Classic.