Big leaguers who have decided to participate in the WBC (World Baseball Classic) are failing to join the national team early one after another.
The WBC national team led by coach Lee Kang-cheol included Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) Choi Ji-man (32, Pittsburgh Pirates) and Korean player Tommy Edman (28, St. Louis Cardinals) in the final roster. When the final list was announced, they were expected to appear in the national team’s training at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, from the 15th (hereinafter Korean time). However, Ha-seong Kim and Edman come to Japan, where the first round will take place after building up their bodies at their respective team’s spring camp. It is still unclear whether Choi Ji-man will join the WBC, so the possibility of selecting a substitute player is being discussed.
Same situation in Japan. The early joining of Ohtani Shohei (29, LA Angels) failed. Angels coach Phil Nevin said in an interview with MLB Network on the 4th, “Ohtani will spend the first half of spring training with us and pitch in one exhibition game before joining the WBC.” The Angels will begin their exhibition game schedule starting with the Seattle Mariners on the 26th. The Japanese national team, led by head coach Hideki Kuriyama, will conduct camp training in Miyazaki, Japan from the 17th to the 27th. Due to the timing, Ohtani’s early joining was a failure. In addition to Ohtani, Japan is NPB (37, San Diego), Seiya Suzuki (29, Chicago Cubs), Masataka Yoshida (30, Boston Red Sox), and Lars Nuba (26, St. Louis), who are included in the national team roster, join early. Japan Professional Baseball) 12 teams promised to jointly pay for insurance money in case of injury during training. Even so, the rest of the players except for Darvish did not join. 스포츠토토
Both Korea and Japan have become troublesome situations.
In Korea, there is a possibility that the delayed joining of Kim Ha-seong and Edman, who are likely to form a keystone combination with second baseman and shortstop, may cause anxiety in the infield. In addition to the two players, Kim Hye-seong (24, Kiwoom Heroes) and Oh Ji-hwan (33, LG Twins) can be used to form a keystone, so there is no problem with training and practice games. However, there is no choice but to be regretful to play the first round without properly matching the infield compatibility with the Kim Ha-seong-Edman combination, which is a step above in terms of weight. Even if the two players join, if they can’t show their condition, it will be a big loss.
Japan’s concerns go a little deeper. As outfielders Suzuki, Yoshida, and Nutba failed to join early, even normal training became difficult. Currently, Kensuke Kondo (30, Softbank Hawks) is the only professional outfielder on the national team roster. Shuto Ukyo (27), who plays for Softbank along with Kondo, is making a name for himself as an outfielder, but it is not an alternative that can completely fill the vacancy given that he plays more often in the infield utility than in the outfield. There is no doubt about the personal skills of an all-big leaguer after building up his body in the spring camp of his team, but there is a part that is difficult to expect an active performance in the competition without properly synchronizing with the infield team.
The 2023 WBC raised great expectations as the Major League Secretariat and the Players Association actively encouraged participation for the ‘globalization of baseball’. As a result, more big leaguers joined the final roster than in previous years. However, the opposition from the clubs, which were passive about the selection every time for fear of player injury, seems to continue this time as well. For this reason, there is a growing concern that joining the big leagues will eventually become a ‘hollow Gangjeong’.