So much drama in the WBC

Joel Pinero is not happy:

Starting pitcher Joel Piñeiro convened a news conference Wednesday morning to announce he was “heartbroken” and would not play for Team Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic after Puerto Rico’s manager, Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo, informed him he was not in the projected three-man rotation.

“I was very disappointed, very heartbroken. I felt disrespected,” Piñeiro said. “Everybody knows that there have been only two pitchers in Puerto Rico the past eight to 10 years who have been consistent starters — Javier Vazquez and myself. To hear that from (Oquendo), it was such a setback. I’m very disappointed. I can’t believe I’m talking to you guys about this.”

Oquendo went with Vazquez, which makes sense, and Ian Snell and Jonathan Sanchez over Pinero. I certainly don’t know that Snell is any better than Pinero. Sanchez probably is. Given the nature of the tournament, the desire to rile up the home fans, and non-traditional considerations like that, however, I suppose reasonable arguments could be made both for and against Pinero’s inclusion.

But then there’s the whole issue — alluded to in the article — that this is all a bunch of kabuki theater. That Pinero’s manager — Jose Oquendo’s boss — Tony La Russa doesn’t really want Pinero pitching in the Classic and orchestrated all of this to keep him in Cardinals camp. If that isn’t the case — and I’d probably dismiss that out of hand as too dramatic if there was someone other than Tony La Russa involved — then there is going to be some bad blood between Pinero and Oquendo going forward. Actually, my kabuki scenario kind of depends on Pinero not realizing he’s being manipulated, so I suppose there will be bad blood either way. But it would certainly be interesting.

Anyway, this is a problem. Yes, for the Cardinals as a team, but that’s not important to me because couldn’t care less if they win or lose, fight or hug. What I’m really concerned about is that it’s a problem for Jose Oquendo’s managerial prospects in that, if he’s seen as a guy who causes trouble, maybe someone will think twice before giving him a job. This would be really bad because for silly childhood reasons I like Jose Oquendo an awful, awful lot, and I want to see him managing someday soon.

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  1. GBS said...

    Never challenge Tony La Russa!  The man is a genius, after all.

    Okay, seriously, I hate the fact that the guy manages my team, and I’ll be glad when he’s gone.

  2. Nick Baird said...

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to have this WBC thing after the season is over. Pitchers would be over worked yes, but at least they would have the whole off season to recover as opposed to trying to recover during the actual season. Plus if someone gets hurt while sliding into a base or a outfield wall or pulls a hammy; again they have the whole off season to recover instead of missing time during the regular baseball season. Does this make sense to any one else, or am I crazy?

  3. David Burden said...

    Nick, I agree with all your points . . . but do we want more baseball in November?  I suppose if they hold it down South it wouldn’t be so bad.

  4. TLA said...

    Two thoughts.

    Sanchez is definitely better than Pineiro.  Snell is also better than Pineiro.  Over the last three years, Snell has averaged twice as many Ks, 1-run lower ERA, and twice as many quality starts.  Although the decision to cut him may have been motivated by Cardinals’ self-interest, the fact of the matter is that the guys selected are better than Pineiro.  He should shut up and feel fortunate that he makes more money than both of those guys.

    If MLB is going to continue with the ridiculous scheduling in the post season, they might as well play the WBC during the 900 off days in the post season.  Will this bar players on playoff teams from playing? Yes, but there are still plenty of stars on non-playoff teams.  Plus I’m sure you could fashion the rules so that the rosters could be adjusted on the dates the next playoff round starts so that players on eliminated playoff teams can be added to WBC rosters.  Although it won’t eliminate the catastrophic injury risk, it will eliminate any concerns about minor to medium grade injuries that linger for the remainder of the season.

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