Just watched Team USA edge out Canada in the World Baseball Classic. While almost every WBC team got hit by major league players unable or declining to participating the tournament, Canada got rocked in their starting pitching. What could have been a starting pitching staff of Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster, Erik Bedard, or Jeff Francis, and Eric Gagne closing Canada ended up with Scott Richmond, Mike Johnson, and who knows? Let’s see what could have been for Canada.
Rich Harden and Ryan Dempster – These Cubs teammate are not playing despite both being healthy and their other teammate Carlos Marmol playing for the Dominican Republic. My guess is the Cubs Curse. Last postseason, both of them collapsed. Plus, Harden has a glass shoulder. While he would have been perfect in the low pitch count tournament format, it’s a contract year for Harden and he doesn’t want to risk injury. As for Dempster, who has 4 years left on his contract, is probably still thinking about getting rocked in the postseason.
Jeff Francis – After winning 20 games and starting in the World Series in 2007, Francis got hurt. Now that he went from #1 to #3 in Colorado’s starting roster, he needs the time to get his velocity back.
Erik Bedard – His season ended early last season in his first season with the Mariners. So needless to say he needs to prove to the Mariners that he has value.
Eric Gagne – He is no longer NL Cy Young winner Eric Gagne, but would have been useful for Team Canada. Years of injuries have taken its toll. He is fighting for a spot on the Brewers roster so he’s unavailable.
It could have been worse. They could be the Dominican Republic, who were stacked with All-stars in 3rd and SS (Ramirez, Tejada, Reyes, A-Rod until he went out), but absolutely no one to play 1st. They lost to the Netherlands today due to some lousy defense in the infield and the fact that Jose Reyes was relegated to pinch running duties.
I’m rooting for Canada to get out of the Pool over Venezuela (aka what could have been half of the Mariners roster) just because I think Scott Richmond will be a better pitcher than Carlos Silva.
Notes: Adam Dunn hits the game winning home run and LaTroy Hawkins gets the win for USA. Make that two things I got wrong about putting them in the roster.