The World Baseball Classic is quickly approaching, and we here at LMBF have you covered on the WBC coverage. Check out John’s Bracket A preview right here and keep coming back for the rest of them.

I love the World Baseball Classic, or at least the idea of it. Getting the best players from each country together for a tournament is a really fun idea, but there’s one big problem…Too Many Players Skip.

Seriously though, the list of guys NOT playing for team USA is arguably as impressive as the actual roster. Yeah, the event would probably be better in the summer. Yeah, 1 game series and pitch counts water the event down, but none of these problems come even close to the problem of players skipping. Without further ado, we will now expose the players with absolutely no pride in their country.

Pool A

South Korea

Jung Ho Kang, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates

Hyun Jin Ryu, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

South Korea has their own professional league, the KBO, and it rules, so don’t sleep on team Korea being a contender. However, they most certainly would have welcomed contributions from established MLB players Kang and Ryu. The problem is Kang is a bit of legal trouble over here in the USA, and Ryu is coming off an arm injury, so its highly unlikely the Dodgers would be cool with him playing. Still, tough seeing two of the country’s finest talents watching from home.

Chinese Taipei

Wei Yen Chen, SP, Miami Marlins

Once again, this one is understandable. Chen is also coming off injury. Still, sucks to know this team had a real MLB SP to be their anchor and instead will trout out some guy I’ve never seen before. Injuries stink.

Netherlands

Andruw Jones, CF, Very Retired.

Honestly pretty much everyone with Netherlands Eligibility is playing, so I can’t get on any current MLB player. Instead i’ll call out Andruw Jones and beg him to come DH for the memories. Yes, he is very likely washed up and would suck. But wouldn’t your rather watch him give it a go than some random Netherlands scrub? This is exactly the event to give the comeback tour a whirl.

Israel

No bones to pick here. On to Pool B

Pool B

Japan

Any of their Starting Pitchers

Imagine this rotation: Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, Kenta Maeda, Hisashi Iwakuma and Shohei Otani. Instead we get none of them. That stinks, especially not getting to see Omani, Japan’s Babe Ruth. Japan should still be competitive, but having those 4 arms would have put them up towards the favorites. Again though, 3/4 of those MLB arms have been heralded for having awful medical reports, so I sorta get it. Maybe Japan’s High School coaches should stop abusing their players’ arms.

Ichiro Suzuki, Legend, Miami Marlins

Much like Andruw Jones, countries deserve to have their legends out there. Japan introduced itself to the MLB thanks to this guy, and he should be their DH until he can’t swing a bat.

Australia

I got nothing. Everyone who can play for the Aussies is doing so. Their LLWS team showed some promise this year, so maybe the Adults can build upon it.

China

I got nothing here either.

Cuba

So circumstances here are a little different, so I’m not really calling anyone out here. However, without getting too political, can Cuba figure it out so we can get a Cuban team full of exiled Cuban stars? This team would be awesome, easily the most fun team in the tournament. Seriously, here’s an idea for a lineup.

  1. Jose Iglesias, SS.
  2. Yasiel Puig, RF.
  3. Jose Abreu, 1B.
  4. Yoenis Cespedes, CF.
  5. Jorge Soler, LF.
  6. Kendrys Morales, DH.
  7. Yasmani Grandal, C.
  8. Yunel Escobar, 3B
  9. Yoan Moncada, 2B.

With Aroldis Chapman coming out the Pen.

Thanks for ruining my stupid 1st world problem baseball tournament, Fidel.

Pool C

United States of America

Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw, Gods, Los Angeles Teams.

You could make a roster of USA guys who skipped and probably win the whole thing. The list is endless. But I’m not going to do that, I’m calling these two out. The two best players on the planet. Play for your damn country, you’re our pride and joy, the best players in our oldest game. Play in the damn WBC. It pains me we don’t get Trout and Kershaw in the WBC and totally kills some of the event’s vibe. At least Kershaw can point to injury risk as a serious reason to not play, Mike Trout not patrolling CF is bogus. Also gotta take this time to curse at Kris Bryant, Chris Sale, Bryce Harper, Noah Syndegaard and the many other american all stars sitting at home instead.

Canada

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

Russell Martin, C, Toronto Blue Jays

Brett Lawrie, INF, Chicago White Sox

With guys like Freddie Freeman, Dalton Pompey, Justin Morenau and highly regarded prospect Tyler O’Neil all suiting up for Canada, its a huge bummer to see 3 established MLB players all sitting out. Votto has done this event twice, and is one of the absolute best hitters in the world, so him sitting out is a huge blow to Canada’s chances. Russell Martin sitting out is an even bigger bummer when you recall he was originally slated to PLAY SHORTSTOP for Team Canada in this event, and Lawrie brings constant energy and intensity, something the WBC needs. The inclusion of these 3 and maybe young arms James Paxton and Jameson Tailon could have made Canada a real player in Pool C, so it stinks to see all these guys choosing to sit it out.

Columbia

Their two players are Jose Quintana and Julio Teheran. Both are pitching. Pablo Escobar would be proud of the national pride the Columbians have displayed in this WBC.

Dominican Republic

Edwin Encarnacion, DH, Cleveland Indians

The D.R is the jewel of the WBC. They always come out in full force and this year is no different, with stars like Manny Machado and Robinson Cano suiting up. However, having an entertaining masher like EE sit out is still a massive bummer, so I have to call him out for skipping.

Pool D

Mexico

Mexico also totally shows up for the WBC, as all their relevant players are suiting up. Hopefully we get to watch Julio Urias pitch.

Italy

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs

Rizzo has suited up for Italy before, and having a real superstar would at least make Italy’s games vs. Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela a little interesting. Hell, Rizzo is good enough to play for the USA too, so he’s a double coward. Gotta hate those Cubs players.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico comes through clutch and will give us Frankie Lindor, Carlos Correa, Javy Baez and every other MLB player they got. Gotta love it. Go Puerto Rico.

Venezuela

Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers

Need it. Joey Bats is indeed suiting up for the D.R, so Odor not coming out for Venezuela is a huge coward move. Sure, they have Jose Altuve at 2B, but I have a feeling they could find a spot for one of the best young hitters in the game.