Starling Marte told the local media in the Dominican on Tuesday night that he will play in the 2017 World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic. While he didn’t play back during the 2013 WBC, Marte is joining a team that ran the table that year, going 8-0 in the Classic. The Dominican Republic will be in the same bracket as the United States, Canada and Colombia in the first round, playing their games at Marlins Park in Miami.

Marte also mentioned that the Pirates will not allow him to play winter ball this year to get an early start on preparation for the games, which take place in early March. Marte had just three at-bats after September 5th this season and he finished the year on the disabled list with back tightness.

Earlier on Tuesday, Jon Morosi from reported that Francisco Cervelli is on the roster for Team Italy. He last played in the WBC back in 2009. Cervelli joins Jung Ho Kang, who will play shortstop for South Korea, and Jared Lakind, who will pitch in relief for Israel, as the names that have been confirmed

Only a handful of the 16 rosters have been announced, so we could hear more names soon.

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  1. Really not happy about Cervelli doing this.

    He really needs to focus on getting ready for the 2017 season and starting 130+ games.

    No need to take this risk and Pirates deserve his full attention on winning the division

    • So, if Francisco just goest to spring training and does the same work and catches in the same number of games, you would be ok if he gets hurt then in a spring training game? No difference if he is catching a few games in spring training over a wee or so or catching the same number of WBC games. I see by your avitar that you must be a Steeler fan. People complain about NFL teams playing staters in preseason games. Would it have mattered it Pouncey got hurt in a preseason game or losing him for the season on the first offensive series a couple of years ago? The WBC is not any more risk than a spring training game

  2. A bit off topic, but watching the free agent market for catchers makes me glad the Pirates signed Cervelli for three more years.

  3. I worry about injuries in these games. A lot of the players are in their (or just coming off their) regular seasons and are in playing shape. The US based players are heading to what is essentially an early spring training and aren’t in playing shape just yet. Seems to be asking for injury. On the other hand, it’s great to see baseball a little earlier than usual.

    • The first game for Team USA isn’t until 24 days after reporting date for Spring Training and two weeks after the first spring game. If those players know they are going to be in the WBC, then they can get an early start if they’re worried. They also have expanded rosters and pitch limits in place during the WBC. Using Team USA as an example, if they go to the finals, they will play eight games total over 13 days, so it’s basically the amount they would play in Spring Training at that time.

    • It is not like these guys have been sitting around doing nothing either. They all are working out. All of the pitchers are under regular throwing programs. Many are playing in the winter leagues. Field players are doing running and hitting drills during the off season. This is not the good old days where players took another job in the off season to make some extra money for their families and used spring training to get into shape. A player can get injured just as easy playing spring training games or just working out as they can in a WBC game. As I ask those who worry about summer camp/preseason game injuries in football, would you feel any better if a player got hurt in the first couple of innings in the first game of the season and missed months or the whole season instead of suffering the injury in a pre season game. Look at Pouncey getting hurt on the first offensive series of the season a couple of years ago. Was that better than getting hurt in a preseason game?? Matt Murray hurt his hand in a World Cup of Hockey game. Was a fluke injury. That same injury could easily have happened in practice a week after he hurt it in the tourney. I think all would agree that Crosby playing really got him ready for the beginning of this season. One of his best starts ever.

      • Most of the players also show up to the winter mini-camp in great shape. Rarely do we hear about someone not in shape there and the mini-camp is five weeks before Spring Training starts

        • Exactly. Even in high school sports. If you are not in shape and ready to go, someone else who is will beat you out for playing time. That is why all of the guys that get drafted these days even from the highschool level are so much more advanced that they were when we were kids as they all have been playing and training year round for a long time. A huge difference from when I was a kid when you played a sport during the school year and unless you made an all star team in little league, you did pretty much nothing for half of the summer. You even got to play several different sports. Now, if you want to start or even play, you have to pick one or two sports to concentrate on and you play that sport year round with club teams except football. Even in football, you have kids going to off season camps and playing 7v7 games in the off season so college scouts see you. Crazy when you really think about it…..

    • He’s a “tano” from Venezuela. Tano in some South American country’s is slang for Italiano – got all of that from the owner of Tano’s Pizza in Manchester NH about an hour North of Boston. So, he’s a paisan.

      BTW, signing him for $31 mil was a bold move for NH and the signing yesterday of Jason Castro for 3/$24.5 makes the Cervelli contract look like a major steal. Looking for him to bounce back with a strong year in 2017.

      • We have very different definitions of what constitutes a steal.

        Castro is a year younger – hits for more power and is as good or better at framing as Cervelli – much better at throwing out runners

        • Maybe I’m not seeing the same stats as you are… Castro has been under .700 ops the last three seasons and averaged 1.1 war while Cervelli is averaging over double the war and essentially .100 points higher in ops.

          • Let me make this extremely easy here guys ….Cervelli is complete and utter fraud. He is a deplorable defender at the most paramount position on the diamond. When you factor in his inability to HR for any type of power he is stealing alright indeed 🙁 This was a deal that was a gross over reaction to the initial injury that Elias Diaz sustained with his elbow setback. NH dropped the ball badly on this contract and it already reared its ugly head dirinf last season stretch run. Dealing Cervelli along with Tony Watson for a legit veteran starter should be the first order of business at the winter meetings.

            • He broke his hamate- limited power to begin with but that really sapped him. But 1.7 war for 31/3? It is a steal.

              • Don’t forget the 3.5 WAR in 2015 ($28 mil value) for which the Pirates paid less than $1 mil. The Diaz injury was a consideration, but after that strong 2015, Cervelli started off 2016 hitting very well in April – the contract of 3/$31 mil was completed in early or mid-May, 2016.

                Even though injured most of May Jun, and Jul, he came back strong at the end of 2016 and was still able to finish with a 1.7 WAR which you mentioned. The Value of that 1.7 WAR is $13.6 mil. His salary for 2016 was $3.5 mil.

                For 2015 & 2016 he was worth $41.5 mil in Value for which the Pirates paid him $4.5 mil in salary. His 3/$31 contract is for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

                  • Why would you pay Cervelli $10m when you have Diaz with a much better arm and more power for $500k.

                    Then there are THOSE numbers!

                    You guys crack me up…
                    This team has $100M to spend and you are ok spending 10% of that on a singles hitting catcher who plays in 100 games – meaning you have to keep a second quality catcher on the roster. If you could count on Cervelli for 135-140 starts your #2 could be Eric friggin Fryer…

                    Don’t get me wrong – personally I would prefer a payroll on the order of $125M a year – at that level the Cervelli deal is less onerous

        • Casro is terrible at blocking, his throwing disappointed the orginization also. There are reasons the Astros let him go for McCann. Power is good…when you get the bat on the ball.

            • From a statistical perspective it is hard to argue against Cervelli. He’s an above average catcher on both sides. My concern from him isn’t power (his on-base makes up for that) or anything defensively, it is that he doesn’t seem to gel with Cole. Cole, and Burnett previously, have faired much better throwing to Stewart. That concerns me. He is still worth the contract though.

    • I think its dumb that players can really play for any team that they have heritage from. Cervelli is not Italian, he was born in venzuela. if you aren’t a citizen or were born in that country you shouldn’t play for them, I don’t care where your grand parents are from

  4. Will be fun to watch these guys play for their countries. Was fun to watch the Pens players play in the World Cup of Hockey

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