The preliminary rosters for the World Baseball Classic have been released and some of these teams are down right ridiculous. The U.S. infield is stacked with the likes of Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Rollins, Evan Longoria and Derrek Lee. Not to mention the bullpen which will be loaded with closers. Innings limits on starters won't be a problem for the U.S. this go around when they are trotting out J.J. Putz, George Sherrill and Joe Nathan to close games.
But as always the Dominican Republic will have tons of bats and the Japanese and the Cubans always have solid teams that play well in the tournament format. The team to watch, though, has to be Canada. Their lineup is deeper with Russell Martin, Justin Morneau, Joey Votto and Jason Bay. They beat the U.S. the last time around and could definitely put together a solid showing in this year's tournament.
I'm actually excited for the WBC this time around. I was pretty skeptical of the inaugural tournament, but after watching a few games I will admit that I started to get sucked in. I still wish there was a way to get more players in as some of the best still sit out for a variety of reasons. Also, it is still a joke to include teams like Italy, China and The Netherlands. I understand the idea of trying to spread the game to these new markets, but I doubt anyone in Italy is inspired to pick up a baseball after Nick Punto gets an infield hit off of Jair Jurrjens. That is, if they even realize that Italy fielded a baseball team in a tournament halfway across the globe.