Which players from the Padres are playing in the World Baseball Classic?
San Diego Padres fans can go ahead and start the countdown to spring training. At this point next month, players on the team will have reported to Peoria, Arizona for the regular-season tune up. After navigating a pandemic and a lockout, players around MLB will finally enjoy a conventional spring training.
There is nothing conventional when it comes to the Padres, though, and their spring training will be interrupted by the return of the World Baseball Classic, which is back for the first time since 2017 when Team USA got the best of Team Puerto Rico in the Final.
The Padres could be down several key players for as much as two weeks of spring training. It's not ideal by any stretch -- you can't put a price on building team chemistry and continuity -- but at least these players will be facing live competition while they're away from the team.
Unfortunately for San Diego, the squad AJ Preller manages in Arizona will look nothing like the one fans will see come Opening Day.
Let's see which Padres will be taking their talents overseas.
Which Padres players are playing in the World Baseball Classic?
Let's break it down by country, shall we? The list is subject to change -- more players could join rosters or opt out of the tournament-- but here's the latest as of early Tuesday morning.
- Dominican Republic: Manny Machado, Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz, Luis Garcia
- Netherlands: Xander Bogaerts
- Japan: Yu Darvish
- Korea: Ha-Seong Kim
- Colombia: Nabil Crismatt
Between Machado, Soto, Bogaerts, and Darvish, you're talking about four of the Padres six or seven most important players. Fernando Tatis Jr., Blake Snell, Josh Hader, Jake Cronenworth, and Joe Musgrove are the best of the rest who are staying in the states.
Believe it or not, the Padres actually got a win after Nick Martinez opted out of playing in the World Baseball Classic. Per The Athletic's Dennis Lin, Martinez made the decision with the team in mind, as Team USA had him rostered as a reliever. Martinez wants to open the season ramped up as a starter. Representing his country would not have allowed him to accomplish that goal.
As disjointed as San Diego's spring training might be because of the World Baseball Classic, it has to feel pretty awesome for fans to see their club so well-represented in the tournament. If you needed a good reason to tune in, well, look no further.
Who are you rooting for to win it all?