The big news since our last update is that Rodney Linares will manage the Dominican Republic team in the WBC. Currently the third base coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, Linares had a brief minor league career and has been coaching ever since. He managed for several years in the Astros system before joining the Rays.
Speaking of the Dominican Republic, don’t expect to see Albert Pujols suiting up to play for them next year. With him retiring after this year and the Dominican talent pool so deep, he says he wouldn’t want to take the spot of a more worthy player. Instead, he’s planning on getting some traveling and spending time off with his kids. It’s similar to what I noted Miguel Cabrera said a few days ago, although Cabrera didn’t completely close the door to some sort of involvement.
Meanwhile, over in Asia, it’s been announced that Lee Kang-Chul will manage the South Korean squad in the WBC next year. A longtime pitcher in the KBO, he was the league’s strikeout champ back in 1992 and who remains one of the leaders in the league’s history in strikeouts and win. Lee has been the skipper of the KT Wiz since 2019, including a Korean Series title last season.
Finally: As has been noted before here and elsewhere, an effort is being made by Cuban players in North America to be part of the WBC. Major League Baseball again has noted that it isn’t up to the league, though, since rules for international competition put such decisions with national federations.
Yesterday in my World Baseball Classic update, I mentioned that there had been some WBC news over the past few weeks that I had neglected to share. Consider this a catch-up post on those things.
It has been announced that Ian Kinsler will manage Team Israel at the 2023 WBC. Kinsler, of course, was one of the best second-basemen of the late 2000s and the 2010s, making four All-Star Games and winning two Gold Gloves. He played for Team Israel at the Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking of Tokyo, it was announced there back in June that the new Samurai Japan manager will be Hideki Kuriyama. Kuriyama managed the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters from 2012-2021, including a Japan Series title in 2016.
There have been somearticles written about a possible Team Canada over the last few months. Among those who definitely sound interested in playing: AbrahamToro, Josh Naylor, and Cal Quantrill. Joey Votto is still unsure and hasn’t thought that far in advance, while pitchers like Nick Pivetta and Jameson Taillon admit that that while they aren’t ruling it out they aren’t sure yet either given how far it is in the future. Sadly for Canada, two players definitely won’t be playing for them: Jordan Romano is planning on playing for Italy, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will suit up for the place he grew up (the Dominican), not the place he was born.
I’ll have more WBC news as it becomes available and as I find it.
And if he is going to take part in the WBC, it’s going to have to be on Team USA, since Cuba has announced that, despite some negotiations to make it happen, defectors will not be allowed on the Cuban national team.
Bryce Harper is in so long as some of the other top US players are going to be playing.
Manny Machado is now on record as being on Team Dominican Republic next year.
One of the great perks of SABR membership is access online to The Sporting News’ archives. While it now is dedicated to all sports, for a good chunk of it’s earlier history it was almost entirely focused on baseball. This allows us to see how players, ideas, teams and even countries first got the attention of the baseball press. So, similar to my article on the firstreferences to Japanese baseball, here’s a look at the first references to baseball in the Caribbean in the Sporting News archives…. just in time for the Caribbean World Series in February!
Well, Pool 1 of Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic is all set. Go below the jump for a preview of the pool, and also consider looking back at my predictions for Pool A and Pool B of the first round, which include a good amount of other information, such as the history and culture of the nations.
It, of course, never happened. It wasn’t until the late 90s that MLB players (the Baltimore Orioles) played the Cuban National Team. The two teams split a home-and-home series.
For those wondering, Cuba’s record against teams in the World Baseball Classic that have had large numbers of MLB players is mixed: they had a 3-2 record in 2006 against teams with large numbers of MLB players (Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic) and had a 2-0 record against Mexico in the 2009 WBC (the rest of their games were against teams that were either made up of predominantly foreign league players, or against mainly minor leaguers).