The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is underway, with first round action completed in Fukuoka, Japan and Taichung, Taiwan.

Cuba, Japan, Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands have advanced into the next round and there is much more excitement to come.

Faces familiar to MLB fans such as Chien-Ming Wang, Andrelton Simmons, Roger Bernadina and Kazuo Matsui have made appearances on television sets and there will be many more noticeable players popping up on our boob tubes when the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic and Venezuela begin play this weekend.

One thing that is lacking from the WBC is the participation of the New York Mets.

Franchise player David Wright will compete for the Americans and minor leaguers Francisco Pena (Dominican Republic) and Randy Fontanez (Puerto Rico) will also take part, but that’s it.

The Mets actually have the least amount of Major League participants in the tourney along with the Angels, while teams like the Brewers (13), Twins (12) and Phillies (12) have the most.

Why is this?

Are the Mets asking their players not to participate? Is it a talent problem? Are the Mets players just not good enough to get an invite? Perhaps it’s a combination of many things.

Certainly players such as Johan Santana, Ike Davis or Jenrry Mejia could have played on WBC teams, but none of them are on-board. If Panama would have qualified for the 2013 tournament Ruben Tejada would also be on that list.

Santana was actually interested in pitching for his native Venezuela, but even before his surgically repaired shoulder started acting up, GM Sandy Alderson denied him permission citing concerns over Santana’s health after he ended last season on the disabled list with lower-back inflammation in addition to an ankle injury.

Current injury aside, wouldn’t Santana have benefited from the experience, getting into game-ready shape quicker and coming back to camp in good spirits having played with his countrymen?

Davis was mentioned as a possible replacement on the US squad for the injured Mark Teixeira, but the spot went to Eric Hosmer instead.

Davis’ numbers .227/.308/.462 with 32HR and 90RBI compared to Hosmer’s numbers from last season .232/.304/.359 with 14HR and 60RBI make that decision a questionable one. Did Alderson and the Mets have something to do with that decision as well? Davis recently said he wasn’t asked to fill in for Teixeira and the Mets left the decision up to him, but there may be more to that story than what we’re reading.

Mejia is also questionably absent from the Dominican roster.

The Republic’s pitching staff looks decent and there is no word if Mejia was offered a spot on the team, but wouldn’t he be an upgrade over 35 year old former top prospect Lorenzo Barcelo – who struggled in MLB with the White Sox organization – or even 30 year old career minor leaguer Angel Castro, who has never appeared in an MLB game?

You would think so, yet he’s not on the team representing his country.

The lack of Mets players participating in the WBC is something to ponder and reads suspiciously.

Is the team being too cautious in protecting their investments? If this is the case, what kind of dynamic could this create between players and the franchise coming into the 2013 season? Would players become resentful for not being allowed to participate in the WBC?

This is pure speculation on this writer’s behalf, but there may be more to read into than what is being displayed and this may actually have an affect on how the team’s upcoming season starts off, which is a worry because the Mets needs every win they can get.

6 comments on “The Mets’ participation in the WBC, or lack thereof

  • peter

    The WBC is meaningless and a waste of time. Players are not 100% game ready. Injuries that could cost a player to miss significant time will eventually lead to cancelling this venture. All it takes is for one pitcher to blow out his arm or a key position player to injure a hamstring or tear his ACL and Major League GM’S will put a stop to this. One last note. I think a team consisting of players from Puerto Rico would havebeen far superior than having a team from Canada.

    • Bryan Mcwilliam

      Hi Peter.

      I disagree with your assessment of the WBC. After watching last night’s game between Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, I could tell how seriously these players take this tournament. The game had the atmosphere of an MLB playoff game.

      Also, Puerto Rico did send a team to the WBC. They’ll be playing today at 5:30 p.m. EST against Spain.

      The roster features MLB players such as Yadier and Jose Molina, Carlos Beltran, Alex Rios, Angel Pagan and more.


  • peter

    If they could have the WBC in the fall right after the World Series then the U.S. players wouldn’t be at such a disadvantage. I believe they play the Caribbean world series every year with Cuba,Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico being represented. Most Latin players play in their native homeland during the off season so for them the WBC is just a continuation of the season. So yes Bryan there is national pride at stake for some of the teams playing. I just don’t think the American players will have the same intensity. To them they’re still in spring training. Of course all the players want to win but not at the expense if they’re not fully conditioned to play 9 innings.

    • Za

      The Caribbean Series/Serie Caribe is like a “champions” league for the winners in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, so you got half of them. The 2013 edition took place the 1st week of February.

      Mostly, the WBC sucks because nobody can watch it. They’re limiting themselves dramatically there. I’ve got an MLB.TV subscription but I can’t watch it and I really want to.

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