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Big League Stew

Felix Hernandez has withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic

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(AP)

The World Baseball Classic won't lack star power, but there's no question the list of marquee participants won't be nearly as long as Bud Selig had hoped or fans of tournament had envisioned even a couple weeks ago.

On Friday, we scratched yet another big name off that list when Felix Hernandez, who reportedly agreed to a brand new seven-year, $175 million extension with the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, announced through his agent that he will not be pitching for Venezuela in next month's tournament.

Also, on an additional and not at all surprising note from CBS Sports' Danny Knobler, it sounds like he had a little bit of help making that decision.

The Mariners continue to insist Thursday's reports are incorrect and no extension is currently in place. That sounds like a team covering their behinds in case something fails apart before inks goes to paper later this spring, and perhaps the biggest threat to the new deal falling through would be an injury in the WBC. At this point in the game, it makes perfect sense for their organization to start nudging and just as much sense for Hernandez's camp to alter their plans.

Honestly, it's not all that complicated a situation to figure out from a business standpoint, but that doesn't mean the news is being received any better back in Venezuela.

That's a strong statement that gives us a little bit of an indication of how important the WBC is in some countries outside of the United States.

In the weeks and months leading up to the reports of Hernandez's extension, the 26-year-old ace had given every indication that he planned on representing his home country in the tournament. With that in mind, it's understandable why they may be feeling a little bit betrayed, especially this late in the game. But again, this simply comes down to business, and also the understanding that business will always trump loyalty in the World Baseball Classic.

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