On Wednesday, Josh Beckettofficially announced he wouldn't pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic and John Lackey announced that he would. Another day, another pair of players announcing their intentions for the WBC.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollinshas come out and said he will play for the U.S. this spring, should he "make the final cut." Given the dearth of quality American-born shortstops, Rollins should be a slam dunk, though it might be an uphill fight for his rightful starting spot with team captain Derek Jeter blocking the way. (Here's a hint to manager Davey Johnson: Take the great glove over the great intangibles.)
If I'm running Team USA right now, I'm getting a little concerned that Webb's decision could become a trend among the top-tier American pitchers. In the age of pitch counts and innings caps, pitchers have become Major League Baseball's most valuable and protected commodity. As such, most teams are probably going to frown on their arms being used in high-leverage innings during an international tournament before the season.
Beckett's shaky health at the end of last season is certainly reason not to participate in the WBC, but Webb doesn't really have a reason like that to not don a U.S. uniform next March -- other than, of course, loyalty to the team that actually pays him.
Jimmy Rollins Volunteers for World Baseball Classic, Brandon Webb Latest to Bow Out originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Thu, 18 Dec 2008 16:50:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.