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New Braves pitcher Jaime Garcia will pitch in World Baseball Classic

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One of the Braves additions from this offseason will be getting a head start of sorts as he plays for Team Mexico in the WBC

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The World Baseball Classic is a very interesting event in the culture and business of baseball. For many, it is a chance for a player to represent their country of origin on the world stage, play the game with their countrymen, and try to increase the visibility of the sport in the eyes of many who do not get to see it played often. MLB has been clear that the WBC is a big part of their strategy to increase global interest and participation in baseball.

For some, in particular fans of higher profile players, it is enough to give you heartburn. The baseball regular season is an absolute grind and takes a toll on all players in some form or fashion. Adding an additional slate of games to that brings questions/concerns of exhaustion and injury to the forefront of some fans’ (and executives’ for that matter) minds.

For folks in that second group, the news that Jaime Garcia will be playing in the WBC is likely not great.

It is obviously Garcia’s decision to play in the World Baseball Classic and, again, there are a ton of reasons to do it. Garcia was slated to pitch in the last WBC in 2013, but he was rehabbing at the time and as a result decided against playing. This is likely the last time he would be asked to play, so the honor of playing for his country given that is hard to argue with.

However, with Jaime’s injury history and the fact that he will be looking for a new contract after this season, there are plenty of reasons not to play. The Braves have to feel similarly here as Garcia is a player that they acquired for real (if replaceable) assets to be able to throw useful innings. The Braves will never say much publicly towards this end (MLB wants to encourage participation in the WBC, so teams poo-pooing it is a big no-no), but they would likely prefer Garcia just go through regular Spring Training and not the WBC.

Stay tuned, but it is also theoretically possible that Freddie Freeman could be playing for Team Canada in 2017 (he has stated in the past that he would like to at some point and the two sides were in discussions earlier this year) so this could be something that bleeds even further into the roster.

The 2017 World Baseball Classic begins play on March 6th with pool play and ends, at the latest, on March 22nd with the Finals. More info on the WBC can be found right here.