Word came from Port St. Lucie today that Johan Santana won’t be representing Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. He had arthriscopic surgery on his left knee shortly after last season ended. The story from Adam Rubin of the Daily News is that the Mets asked him not to participate.
I’m not a huge fan of the WBC, particularly because of the timing during spring training. Not that there’s a good time for an event like this. But I think it would be better if they played after the MLB season ended. Sure, it would be anti-climactic after the World Series. But it would give players a chance to rest afterward before the next season started, and reduce the injury concerns that MLB teams have about the event.
Frankly, it’s hard for me to understand how a team could let its best player like Johan Santana participate at all in this kind of event. The only incentive appears to be MLB’s desire to see this thing succeed. I wouldn’t want Santana playing if he had a hang nail after last season ended, much less knee surgery.
Santana’s a durable player. But if he, somehow, was seriously injured during the WBC it would have such serious ramifications for the Mets season. Each team should be able to select one or two players that they reserve not to play in the tournament. The financial commitments to the top players in baseball should preclude them from participation in WBC, which is essentially a meaningless exhibition.