No Justin Verlander, no Clayton Kershaw, no David Price. No Mike Trout, no Buster Posey, no Prince Fielder, no Josh Hamilton. And still, Team USA might be good enough to win the World Baseball Classic.
Such an outcome might not be best for the future of the WBC, lulling American major leaguers into a false sense of complacency, enabling everyone to think, "Hey, we can win without our best."
You know what, though? The bigger the tournament gets, the more players will want to participate. And who knows? By 2017, baseball might have a new commissioner, one who applies more pressure than Bud Selig on clubs -- and specifically managers and general managers -- to commit more fully to the WBC.
Some might argue that a loss by Team USA in the semifinals or finals could produce a similar effect, spurring greater participation in '17. On the other hand, the U.S. loss to Japan in the '09 semis didn't create a rush among American players to sign up for the current WBC. A...