The 2023 World Baseball Classic is officially in the books. While many Mets fans might still be feeling salty about what transpired (specifically regarding Edwin Diaz), it was an awesome spectacle. Watching passionate baseball get played in packed stadiums during the month of March was outstanding.
Even with some late scratches, the Mets were well-represented during the tournament. Having an opportunity to play for your country is something many players crave. So, it’s understandable why so many said yes to participating in the WBC. Francisco Lindor got a lot of playing time as captain of Team Puerto Rico. Other than that, though, many of New York’s projected starters didn’t get consistent playing time.
Eduardo Escobar racked up 10 at-bats, while Omar Narvaez had just four for Team Venezuela. Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil were part of Team USA’s attempt to defend its WBC title. However, they weren’t on the field very much. Alonso accumulated 15 at-bats and Jeff McNeil had just nine (as well as four walks).
I’m not here to say they should’ve gotten more playing time. It’s a short tournament and managers have to ride the hot hand. All of the dudes I just mentioned didn’t produce much during the World Baseball Classic. But now that the festivities are over and the focus turns back to MLB’s regular season, it’s time to play catch up.
Lindor, Escobar, and Narvaez are all already back at Mets camp. Manager Buck Showalter is doing the best he can to get his guys reps by playing them consistently and putting them high in the order. The same will likely happen for Alonso and McNeil once they’re officially back.
According to Tim Healey of Newsday, Alonso will get Wednesday off before meeting the Mets in North Port to face the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. McNeil will be heading back to PSL to rack up as many at-bats as he can in minor-league games.
As I said before, I had no problem with them taking advantage of an opportunity to represent their country. Even though they didn’t play much, it looked like an unforgettable experience. If I had the same chance, I’d probably do it, too.
But as we sit here on Wednesday, March 22nd, Opening Day in Miami against the Marlins is eight days away. There’s no need to rush, but there now needs to be some intentional focus on ramping up appropriately so they feel prepared for the six-month marathon ahead of them. Mostly because if they had stayed in camp instead of leaving for the WBC, they’d feel a lot more prepared than they currently do.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.