With provisional rosters for the 2013 World Baseball Classic due to be submitted late next week and finalized shortly thereafter, we have early confirmation on the status of two the game's youngest and brightest superstars.
First, from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman comes word that Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has committed to play for Team USA, which is simply fantastic news for tournament organizers and fans interested in the event.
And it's even better news for manager Joe Torre, who can now safely pencil the 23-year-old's productive bat in the middle of an already stacked lineup that includes Ryan Braun, Adam Jones, Joe Mauer, Brandon Phillips and David Wright. But it also shouldn't be considered surprising news after the comments Stanton made when asked about his possible participation for Team USA back in September.
"Absolutely. Anything that represents your country is a big deal. It's relatively new. To have that be more popular, or make that more important to people, is ideal."
"You never know how long a career can be, and you want to get that experience," he added. "You never know how your health will be. In three years, something could go wrong. I'm able to do it now, and have no reason not to."
That's a great, if not refreshing attitude, and it's nice to see him back those words up with a commitment.
So that's one superstar in.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately if you're a Los Angeles Angels fan, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times is reporting that another superstar, Mike Trout, informed the tournament committee that he would not be participating before they even had a chance to ask him.
That's according to his agent, Craig Landis, who when pressed for an explanation stated that Trout simply preferred to go through "regular spring training preparation" ahead of his first full season in the majors.
That's certainly an understandable position, especially when you consider how crowded the outfield for Team USA already is, and that's without official word on Matt Kemp's status. For a young player still trying to adjust to the big league grind — yes, Trout still has a thing or two to learn and fine tune — getting all the usual and necessary preparation in is the right way to go.
It also gives him a chance to get used to playing alongside Josh Hamilton — who also opted out of the WBC — which is another positive development for Los Angeles. So while it's disappointing news to be sure, especially when added to Andrew McCutchen's decision to pass on the tournament, it's difficult to blame Trout for putting team and personal development first.