It was supposed to take place in 2021 and it’s been six years since the last one, but the fifth World Baseball Classic is just 25 days away.
- The rosters for all 20 WBC teams were announced last evening. Michael Clair and Thomas Harrington give a quick thumbnail capsule of all 20 teams.
- Are you still unsure of what the WBC is? Or how it works? Anthony Castrovince has an FAQ on the WBC.
- Jon Paul Morosi, one of the few people in the world more excited about the return of the WBC than I am, has ten storylines for this year’s tournament.
- A player who many in this country first got to see pitch in the 2009 WBC, Yu Darvish, has signed a six-year, $108 million contract extension with the Padres.
- Speaking of that 2009 WBC, this is an old Tweet, but it highlights the importance of the WBC and it was re-tweeted into my timeline yesterday.
It took 10 more years, but with the Cardinals signing Kwang-Hyun Kim now the top 9 in our 2009 WBC Top 20 Prospects list are all major leaguers. I had so much fun putting this together back then. One of the things I'm most proud of from my BA days.https://t.co/acD32iIwMM pic.twitter.com/IYrGFpnTQh— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) December 18, 2019
- Shohei Ohtani missed the 2017 WBC because he had just signed with the Angels. Now he’s playing for Team Japan and is looking at free agency this next offseason. Angels owner Arte Moreno told the media he’d like Ohtani to remain an Angel and that they have “as good a shot as anyone” of retaining him.
- New Mets right-hander Kodai Senga was named to the all-tournament team of the 2017 WBC. This year he’s missing the tournament for the same reason Ohtani missed it last time. But Senga met with the media down in Florida and said how much he was looking forward to joining the Mets rotation.
Twins, Giants, Mets, Twins (again) shortstop Carlos Correa will miss the WBC because his wife is due to give birth during the tournament.
- Blue Jays infielder Bo Bichette played for Team Brazil in the 2017 WBC qualifiers. (His mother is Brazilian. I’m guessing you know who his father is.) BIchette just signed a three-year, $33.6 million deal with Toronto to buy out his final three years of arbitration eligibility.
- Ethan Diamandas believes this deal could set up Bichette for a major mega-extension with Toronto later.
- More on Bichette’s extension from Kaitlyn McGrath. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Ken Rosenthal has five reasons the Padres could sign third baseman Manny Machado to a contract extension before Opening Day. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Matt Snyder explains why market size should not be an excuse for MLB owners to be cheap. The Padres are his biggest example.
- Ken Rosenthal and C. Trent Rosecrans look at the woeful ownership situations in Cincinnati and Baltimore where the sons of longtime owners are causing major unhappiness among the fans. (The Athletic sub. req.) They also look at how likely new ownership is in both cities.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred said that MLB is prepared to take over the local broadcasts of games themselves, if necessary, after the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports, which runs the Bally Sports regional sports networks.
- Mike Axisa has the most interesting non-roster invite to each team’s Spring Training.
- Mark Bowman has the three biggest questions for the Braves heading into Spring Training.
- Matt Snyder makes the case for agent Scott Boras to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
- On the changes the Blue Jays are making to the Rogers Centre, read this thread. The changes will probably turn the park into a band box.
- Michael Baumann informs us that Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola is about to become very rich as he heads into potential free agency next winter. And he tries to figure out how rich.
- MLB has given pitchers permission to use the PitchCom system to call their own pitches in Spring Training. If it works out well. they may be allowed to do it during the regular season.
- Michael Baumann makes the case for teams forfeiting lost games. That’s in contrast to the current practice of playing out 16-2 games to their nine-inning conclusions.
- Ben Clemens looks at fastballs for swinging strikes down the middle, from both the pitchers’ and hitters’ points of view.
- The Mets are running a (local) Super Bowl ad in Sunday’s game.
- Here’s the ad:
We Wanna Hear You! https://t.co/UweYKix2Ir pic.twitter.com/XfM1qszMrQ— New York Mets (@Mets) February 9, 2023
- Evan Drellich explains the thinking behind the Mets’ commercial. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Mookie and Brianna Betts hosted a charity bowling tournament in Los Angeles.
- Joon Lee has a great story of how an abandoned storefront in Harlem was transformed by Mets pitcher Adam Ottavino into a year-round pitching lab. New Cubs’ pitcher Jameson Taillon is one of the regular users of the space.
- And finally, an even better story about the history of scouts and their relationship with their most-noticeable tool: the radar gun. (The Athletic sub. req.)
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.