CLEVELAND, Ohio — As quite a few Guardians packed their luggage for the World Baseball Basic, supervisor Terry Francona made them promise “to return again simply the best way they left.”
Francona was kidding, making gentle of a fragile topic that each one groups face after they ship their gamers to the WBC in spring coaching. Luckily for Cleveland, all of them returned in good stead, besides Andres Gimenez, who continues to be enjoying for the Venezuela.
Really useful Guardians tales
Venezuela, undefeated within the event, performs Staff USA on Saturday night time in Miami. The winner will play Cuba within the semifinals Sunday night time. Gimenez, by the best way, is hitting .286 (4 for 14) and enjoying highlight-reel protection at shortstop.
Cal Quantrill, Bo Naylor, Ritchie Palacios, Meibrys Viloria, Dayan Frias, Josh Wolf and Cade Smith all adopted Francona’s request and returned wholesome. Palacios should still be jetlagged after making the 15-hour flight from Taiwan to Los Angeles. Even Victor Rodriguez, the Guardians assistant hitting coach, is returning to the desert after Puerto Rico was eradicated by Mexico on Friday night time.
However what if a kind of gamers hadn’t returned wholesome? What if nearer Emmanuel Clase had gone to the WBC with the Dominican Republic, as he may have, and suffered a season-ending knee damage identical to Mets nearer Edwin Diaz did for Puerto Rico?
Clase and Diaz are the very best closers in baseball. It’s a devastating damage for the Mets and it might have damage much more for the Guardians.
The Mets have an proprietor in Steve Cohen who has a bottomless checking account. Their payroll for 2023 is $345 million and rising. He signed Diaz to a five-year $102 million deal after the 2022 season.
Cash and gamers will likely be no object if the Mets should go exterior the group to seek out Diaz’s substitute.
With the Guardians, cash and gamers are all the time an object. They are going to open the 2023 season with a payroll pushing $91 million. It is likely one of the causes there was a quiet celebration within the group when Clase stated he wasn’t going to pitch for the Dominican Republic.
Ditto for Jose Ramirez, who stated no to the DR as a result of he was coming off surgical procedure on his proper thumb.
Why Clase refused is unclear. He wasn’t injured, however final season he tied for the MLB lead in appearances with 77 and led with 67 video games completed and 42 saves. He additionally signed a five-year $20 million extension at first of the 2022 season.
Possibly he simply wanted a relaxation.
The prevailing thought appears to be that the WBC, when it rolls round each three to 4 years, is an excessive amount of enjoyable to let one freak damage, irrespective of how critical, break it. And it was a freak damage.
Diaz had simply struck out the aspect to avoid wasting Puerto Rico’s 5-2 win over the Dominican to advance out of pool play on Wednesday. Within the ensuing celebration, Diaz injured his proper knee, falling to the bottom in entrance of the mound after being engulfed by teammates. He underwent surgical procedure the subsequent day.
Might Diaz have suffered the identical damage stumbling down the dugout steps throughout a Grapefruit League recreation on the Mets’ coaching website in Port St. Lucie, Florida? Positive, he may have.
The distinction being that the Mets would have been in command of the scenario with their supervisor, group medical doctors and trainers available. Diaz wouldn’t have been enjoying on an all-star group in Miami, whereas the remainder of the group was working its approach via spring coaching.
Make no mistake, enjoying within the WBC has its perks. Simply ask Mike Trout, a three-time AL MVP for the Angels, who’s enjoying for Staff USA.
“That is the funnest expertise I’ve had on a baseball subject,” Trout advised the Athletic. “To signify your nation, it’s been a blast. Clearly, there’s threat concerned. (However) you’re nonetheless enjoying baseball in spring coaching. For me, being a part of this environment, it’s particular. It means loads to me. I knew getting in it was going to be a enjoyable time. I by no means knew it was going to be this enjoyable.”
Mookie Betts, one other member of Staff USA, advised the Los Angeles Instances, “These issues (accidents), they’ll occur to anyone at any given time. And you may all the time try to place blame on the WBC, however that’s only a freak accident that might occur to anybody at any given time.
“That is a lot enjoyable. It’s a lot enjoyable. And that is approach higher than getting 4 at-bats within the again fields. I encourage those that are watching, come be part of, come play for Staff USA, as a result of it is a lot of enjoyable.”
Why wouldn’t it’s enjoyable?
The gamers get a break from the boredom of spring coaching. Their supervisor and training workers aren’t round to inform them what to do. They get the chance to play and type friendships with the very best gamers of their nations. And in the event that they do get damage, the vast majority of the contracts are assured.
By all accounts the WBC has been a giant success this spring. Data in attendance, merchandise gross sales and viewership have been set.
Nonetheless, one query must be requested — is 2 weeks in the midst of March actually price a group’s 162-game season? MLB is making an attempt to unfold the gospel of baseball to the 4 corners of the earth. They need extra youngsters enjoying the sport.
These are all good issues, however the reality is the WBC is a good concept that doesn’t slot in MLB’s timeline. Irrespective of how the league tries to cram it into the schedule — spring coaching, All-Star break, finish of the season — it places the very best gamers on this planet and their groups in danger.
If you happen to or a cherished one has questions and wishes to speak to knowledgeable about playing, name the Ohio Downside Playing Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or the Nationwide Council on Program Playing Helpline (NCPG) at 1-800-522-4700 or go to 1800gambler.internet for extra info. 21+ and current in Ohio. Playing drawback? Name 1-800-Gambler.
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