Predicting Joe Torre's Entire USA Roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic
He is by far the biggest name to hold the position, as he follows Buck Martinez (2006) and Davey Johnson (2009) in holding the post.
Torre is a logical choice, as he is now working in the MLB front office and will not be tied down with getting a team prepared during spring training when the Classic takes place.
He has plenty of experience managing All-Star games, and it seems like he has as good a chance as anyone of bringing a group of All-Star caliber players together as a team to make a run at winning the tournament this time around.
While it is still a ways off, here is a look at what the United States roster of 28 players could look like with Torre at the helm.
CF Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
One of the most exciting all-around players in the game today, McCutchen would provide some much-needed speed to a roster that will likely be made up of an assortment of sluggers.
His superior defense would also give the team flexibility in terms of who plays where in the outfield on any given day.
2B Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
With Chase Utley no longer the player he once was, and Robinson Cano a native of the Dominican Republic, Pedroia becomes the choice as the premier second baseman for this team.
He has as complete a game as anyone at the position; he is a perennial 20-20 threat, a .300 hitter and a two-time Gold Glove winner on top of that.
RF Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
When healthy, which he currently is not, Kemp is arguably the most dangerous player in the game today and a legitimate contender for a 40-40 season and more.
The Dodgers may not like their eight-year, $160 million investment playing in an exhibition series, but unless he is forbidden from doing so, expect him to anchor the U.S. lineup.
LF Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
Hamilton currently leads the AL with 22 home runs and 62 RBI to go along with a .330 average. He has been phenomenal all season for the Rangers.
There is no better player to represent his country, and while his impending free agency could get in the way of things, he would be an obvious choice if he does end up interested in participating.
DH Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
His reputation took a big hit this offseason when he tested positive for PEDs, and while it was inevitably overturned (albeit under shady circumstances), he has still not entirely won back the MLB world.
Nonetheless, he remains a shoe-in to make the team as he continues to be one of the game's most complete offensive players. He is off to a terrific .309 BA, 16 HR, 42 RBI, 11 SB start again this season.
1B Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
First base is a deep position, and seeing as it is a safe bet that one of the two players who participated in the last WBC get the position (Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn), Fielder seems like the best choice.
Seeing him hit after Ryan Braun again will no doubt make more than a few Brewers fans long for the good ole' days and would be a ridiculous 5-6 in the order.
3B Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
Last time around, Longoria was just 23 years old with two big league seasons under his belt, but he still managed to make the roster alongside Chipper Jones and David Wright at the position.
Since then, he has emerged as the clear-cut choice for best third baseman, provided he is healthy. He should have no problem locking up the starting third base job this time around.
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
With an average line of .304 BA, 30 HR, 97 RBI over the past three seasons, Tulowitzki is in a league of his own at the shortstop position. He is one of the game's true superstars.
Health is a constant issue, however, and that could be reason enough for him to decline to participate. If he does throw his hat in the ring though, he'll undoubtedly be the starting shortstop.
C Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Posey burst onto the scene to lead the Giants to the World Series in 2010, but he missed most of last season with an injury leading to some discussion of him moving out from behind the plate.
For the time being though, he is a catcher, and while veterans like Joe Mauer and Brian McCann could give him a run, I think he is the choice for starting catcher.
C Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles
A switch-hitter, Wieters would give the team some options as far as playing matchups. I expect him to be the backup over McCann and Mauer, as the veteran catchers will likely pass on the Classic.
2B Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers
Short on speed, Kinsler gives the team plenty of that "to go" along with some terrific power as he has twice been a 30-30 player.
SS Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Jeter is one of just three player to play in each of the first two Classics (Jake Peavy and Chipper Jones), and if he wants on the team, expect Torre to oblige him. A true ambassador to the game, he belongs on the roster even if he isn't starting.
UT Michael Young, Texas Rangers
Young swings a great bat and can play all four infield positions, making him that much more valuable. Mark DeRosa made the roster last time around, and Young could serve a similar utility role.
OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Without a true lead-off hitter, Trout could play his way into the starting lineup over McCutchen if he makes the team. He's one of the game's future superstars, and this would just be another step along the way for him.
OF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
An argument can be made that Harper is the biggest star in the game right now,, and that even without all of the hype, he would make the team on talent alone over guys like Shane Victorino and Matt Holliday.
RHP Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
The best pitcher in the game today, Verlander would front any staff you could assemble, and this collection of All-Stars is no different.
LHP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Considering starting pitchers are put on a pitch limit, Kershaw may in fact be the most dangerous pitcher out there. Guys like Verlander and Halladay are horses, but for five innings, Kershaw may have the best stuff out there.
RHP Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
Cain has emerged from the shadow of Tim Lincecum and is unquestionably one of the best pitchers in the game today and worthy of a rotation spot.
LHP Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
The rotation would benefit from having a second left-hander, and Lee is as close a second as there is to Kershaw. A fierce competitor who has stepped his game up on the big stage in the past, he'd be a welcome addition.
RHP Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels
Lots of choice for the fifth spot as it's tough to pick just five, but Weaver is as good an option as any. He is the definition of a strikeout pitcher. This spot would belong to Stephen Strasburg if the Nationals weren't so careful with him, and I can't see them letting him participate.
LHP Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
LHP Sean Marshall, Cincinnati Reds
Sale has some of the most electric stuff in baseball, and while I don't think he earns a rotation spot, he won't be left off the team. Marshall is capable of pitching to both right and left-handed batters with equal efficiency, so he profiles as more than just a lefty specialist.
RHP Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
RHP Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies
RHP Tyler Clippard, Washington Nationals
RHP Mike Adams, Texas Rangers
RHP Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles
RHP Drew Storen, Washington Nationals
There are a bevy of right-handed relievers to choose from for these spots, but I think these six guys are the best of the bunch There is a good mix of closers and setup guys, and this is a group that could significantly shorten games.
RHP Mike Adams, TEX
RHP Matt Cain, SF
RHP Tyler Clippard, WAS
RHP Jim Johnson, BAL
LHP Clayton Kershaw
RHP Craig Kimbrel, ATL
LHP Cliff Lee, PHI
LHP Sean Marshall, CIN
RHP Jonathan Papelbon, PHI
LHP Chris Sale, CWS
RHP Drew Storen, WAS
RHP Justin Verlander, DET
RHP Jered Weaver, LAA
C Buster Posey, SF
C Matt Wieters, BAL
1B Prince Fielder, DET
SS Derek Jeter, NYY
2B Ian Kinsler, TEX
3B Evan Longoria, TB
2B Dustin Pedroia, BOS
SS Troy Tulowitzki, COL
UT Michael Young, TEX
LF Ryan Braun, MIL
LF Josh Hamilton, TEX
CF Bryce Harper, WAS
CF Matt Kemp, LAD
CF Andrew McCutchen, PIT
CF Mike Trout, LAA