Why these Chicago Cubs will not be playing in the World Baseball Classic

World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game Six
World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game Six / Rob Carr/GettyImages

The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is a hot topic with the tournament starting in less than a month. I recently put out an article on three players to watch in the World Baseball Classic and Cubbies Crib colleague Eric Rubin broke down all the Chicago Cubs' players taking part in the classic here. There are two players who were originally going to compete in the WBC, but decided not to. Trey Mancini and Nick Madrigal have decided to not play and instead spend spring training with the Cubs.

Nick Madrigal was originally slated to represent Mexico at the World Baseball Classic but has since decided to stay back and play a full spring training with the Cubs. The reasoning for this is Madrigal does not yet have a position on the field. The Cubs signed Dansby Swanson this off-season which moves Nico Hoerner over to second base, Madrigal's primary position. Staying back from the World Baseball Classic allows Madrigal to compete for a spot on the opening day roster, and compete for regular playing time.

At just 25 years old, Madrigal has had his share of injuries. A hamstring tear kept him out of the rest of the 2021 season with the Chicago White Sox, and after landing on the IL a few times in 2022 with the Cubs, Madrigal has had very limited seasons. However, he has been a good hitter before his hamstring injury, and he hopes to get back to those ways in a healthy 2023. The big question with him is the position he will play. Knowing that Nico Hoerner is the everyday second baseman for the Cubs, the Cubs have shifted Madrigal over to third base. In an interview with Marquee Sports, Jed Hoyer says he expects Madrigal to play a little third base. He is not the everyday option at the hot corner, but it is expected he will get some reps over there. Staying out of the WBC helps Madrigal compete for regular playing time during spring training. He may not be the starter anywhere, but if he fits the matchups, and shows he can play more than position, Madrigal can be the Cubs' main option off the bench in 2023.

Trey Mancini has a different reason for not playing in the WBC. The new Cub was supposed to play for Italy but decided to play the whole spring with Cubs. Mancini met with Cubs media after signing and explained this decision among other things in the interview. Mancini's decision to stay back is because he wanted to get to know his new teammates better. The 30-year-old understands his role as a veteran on a younger team. Not only is he a veteran, he just won a World Series with the Houston Astros in 2022.

Kevin Alcantara already impressing in Spring Training. dark. Next

The decision to stay back and get to know his teammates better shows the type of role Mancini expects to take on in the 2023 season. Of course, he will be playing a lot of first base and DH with some outfield sprinkled in, but his job on the team will run much deeper than that. All teams need a leader in the clubhouse, especially those teams with younger players. The man playing that role for the Cubs will be Trey Mancini. He is not the oldest player on the Cubs, but he is willing to be the leader needed at Wrigley in 2023. With the addition of his leadership, if Trey Mancini can produce as he did with the Baltimore Orioles, he can prove to be one of the better signings of the off-season.