Provisional World Baseball Classic rosters will come out Thursday afternoon, but the St. Louis Cardinals are likely to make their mark on Team Puerto Rico once again in 2013.
For the first time in World Baseball Classic history—which stretches back, admittedly, to 2006—Jose Oquendo will not be Puerto Rico's manager in 2013. The St. Louis Cardinals will continue to dictate Puerto Rico's fate, though: Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran have already volunteered themselves for the team's roster when the Classic convenes in March.
Puerto Rico's slow decline from baseball's first division is a cliche by now—it's a talking point every time someone discusses the international draft, let alone the WBC (in which they finished fifth in 2006 and 2009)—but the Cardinals haven't exactly felt the effects. In addition to Oquendo, Molina, and Beltran, the Cardinals also have outfield prospect Anthony Garcia, an 18th-round pick out of San Juan in 2009.
He hit .280/.354/.525 as a 20-year-old for low-A Quad Cities last year, earning praise for his power potential and making the Future Redbirds Top 10 for his troubles. That might not compare to the Dominican Republic's prospect combination of Oscar Taveras and Carlos Martinez, but if Jose Oquendo finds himself back in the manager's role in 2017 I'm sure he won't mind the help.
We'll be covering World Baseball Classic roster announcements in this storystream all week, so whether you love it (like I do) or are just terrified about Jaime Garcia's shoulder and Team Mexico hanging out all month, please stay tuned.