The Chicago Cubs in the World Baseball Classic will be highlighted by Javier Baez and Hector Rondon, as well as four other Cubs–but none for the American Team.
For the Chicago Cubs–and the rest of the MLB–it’s a tough decision for players. Do you rest up and get ready for Spring Training? Or prepare to represent your country in the World Baseball Classic? The tournament, which now takes place every four years, doesn’t have the same appeal to the USA as it does to other nations.
Early on, Anthony Rizzo was expected to play for the Italian Team in the WBC. But he’s since changed his mind and will be focusing on playing for the Cubs in Spring Training. So with his exclusion, Javier Baez and Hector Rondon will be the two most notable names from the Cubs roster.
Baez will play for Puerto Rico and will be joined by Cubs minor-league pitcher Miguel Mejia. Rondon will be put in a designated pitcher pool for his home nation of Venezuela. What this means is he won’t pitch in the first-round but could be selected for the second round should they advance.
The remaining Cubs in the WBC
The Italians will have a Cubs’ player on the roster, but it will be John Andreoli and not Rizzo. I’m sure the Italian team would prefer Rizzo, but Andreoli is a quality outfielder that could see some time in Chicago this year. The Canadian team will have pitcher Jim Henderson while the Columbian team will have pitcher Erling Moreno. Henderson is a NRI (non-roster invite) that is hoping to stick with the Cubs out of Spring Training. Moreno pitched for the Cubs in the Arizona League as well as with Class-A Eugene.
The WBC will get underway with pool play beginning in March at four different sites. The championship round will be held at Dodger Stadium March 20-22. Personally, I’ll admit I’ve not watched much of the WBC. And with the Cubs ready to begin the defense of their title? This isn’t going to be the year I start.