As we approach the mid-way point in the baseball season one thing seems very clear, the World Baseball Classic appears to be taking its toll on players, and more importantly teams.
When the WBC was created many people had fears about the effects it would have on its participants, most notably pitchers.
Recently, Scott Kendrick of About.com wrote a column where he outlines the potential ill effects of the WBC. Take a look at this list of players and see if you can find what they have in common.
- Jose Arredondo, Angels: He looked like a closer in waiting in 2008, but the Angels are still waiting. He was sent to Triple-A this week.
- Armando Gallaraga, Tigers: After winning 13 games as a rookie, he's 3-7 with a 5.62 ERA and hasn't won since April 26.
- Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles: He's struggling with a 5-7 record and a 5.09 ERA, his worst in three seasons with Baltimore.
- Matt Lindstrom, Marlins: The hard-throwing closer has a 6.52 ERA and a bad elbow. He went on the disabled list this week.
- Damaso Marte, Yankees: He was ineffective in seven games, and has been on the DL since early May with shoulder tendinitis.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox: He was pulled from the Boston rotation after a miserable first eight starts (1-5, 8.23 ERA) and is now on the disabled list indefinitely with a shoulder issue.
- J.J. Putz, Mets: The expensive setup reliever underwent arthroscopic surgery on his elbow and is likely out until August.
- Scot Shields, Angels: Solid setup guy wasn't solid (6.62 ERA), and now is out for the year after knee surgery.
- Joakim Soria, Royals: The "Mexicutioner" has a solid 1.72 ERA and eight saves, but missed most of May with a sore shoulder.
If you guessed they were all part of WBC rosters, you're right.
All of these pitchers at one point were highly respected names, who carried high expectations coming into this season.
Now a combination of injuries, and continued struggles, leads many second guessers of the WBC to question its value.
While there is no actually way to quantify how much the WBC played in these players short comings, it certainly does open the forum for debate.
I personally am a fan of the WBC. However, I imagine if I was a team executive I might have a very different opinion. Maybe this is all a coincidence, maybe not, but there is no denying something has to give.
I understand Baseball (like every other major U.S. sport) is doing everything they can to market to an international audience, but at what point are we diminishing the value of our game at home.
I guess only time will tell.