Alex Rodriguez has decided to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
I’m probably missing someone, but this is what the Dominican team looks like to me:
DH: David Ortiz
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Alfonso Soriano
SS: Miguel Tejada
3B: Alex Rodriguez
RF: Moises Alou
CF: Vladimir Guerrero
LF: Manny Ramirez
C: Miguel Olivo (!?)
Util Inf: Adrian Beltre
Util Inf: Aramis Ramirez
Util Inf: Luis Castillo
SP: Pedro Martinez, Bartolo Colon
RP: Damaso Marte, Luis Vizcaino, Julio Mateo, Octavio Dotel
Catcher is the weak spot; I may be missing someone. Guerrero might be a bit stretched at center, and I might move Ramirez, Castillo, or Beltre into the infield so that Soriano could be moved to center. I might also be forgetting about some good Dominican center fielders.
All in all, though, this is an impressive team. A team assembled of US born players would have a lot more depth at pitching, and obviously a better catcher, but I’m not sure it would be competitive overall. A-Rod makes a pretty huge difference, and it’s not a stretch to argue that, with Barry Bonds still on the DL, Ramirez, Guerrero, Pujols, A-Rod, and Tejada are each better than any US born players at their respective positions. Indeed, I wouldn’t have cause to quibble with a list of the ten best players in baseball today that included all of them. . .