Star players from the Chicago Cubs could have taken the World Baseball Classic and Team USA to a completely different level.
Is it socially acceptable to critique something that recently achieved great success?
Wednesday night, Team USA won the World Baseball Classic, defeating Puerto Rico handily 8-0. The title is the Americans’ first in four tries, winning without the services of arguably their country’s best players–including any Chicago Cubs.
Yes, Team USA’s roster featured notable stars such as Chris Archer, Giancarlo Stanton and Paul Goldschmidt, among others. These players clearly have an immense amount of talent, but that does not mean they are their country’s absolute best.
Team USA’s starting outfield consisted of Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen and Christian Yelich, a very talent group. However, isn’t it safe to say that Stanton, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper would be the best combination?
In Wednesday’s championship game, Team USA’s starting infield consisted of Nolan Arenado, Brandon Crawford, Ian Kinsler and Eric Hosmer. Similar to the team’s outfielders, the infield is full of great players. At the same time, there are other players that may have been even better for the team.
Cubs still hibernating?
The Chicago Cubs are not the only MLB team with great players. However, they definitely have a roster chock full of talent. Regardless, only Javier Báez and Hector Rondon (of the MLB squad) participated in this year’s World Baseball Classic.
If any of these Cubs did play for Team USA, the Americans’ roster could have been far better. Arenado is a great player, but Bryant can play both infield and outfield. Hosmer is solid as well, but Rizzo’s numbers have trumped his over the last several seasons.
If any of the Cubs’ starting pitchers pitched for Team USA, the Americans’ biggest “flaw” would not have existed. Really, any of the Cubs’ pitchers or even someone like Clayton Kershaw or Noah Syndergaard would have been better options.
Playing into November last season is probably why most of the Cubs’ players didn’t play in the tournament. Team USA still put together a phenomenal team for the tournament regardless, but there is a bigger issue at hand.
While other countries managed to get the best of the best MLB players, Team USA did not. Next World Baseball Classic, it will be interesting to see if the USA’s championship will spark more of elite American players into representing their country in the tournament.