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Schneider: One Cut at a Time

The Red, White & Blue, among other countries, released its preliminary roster for the World Baseball Classic today. All told, seven Washington Nationals ("WSH") are listed on various countries' rosters---and that's not counting minor league invitee Alberto Castillo, whose "WAS" designation is either a snarky way to note that he "was" a major leaguer or an inconsistent and stray appellation for the Nats. But, as an old proverb says, two sentences pondering Alberto Castillo are two sentences too many.

I'd imagine that one Nat, Alfonso Soriano (Dominican Republic), is a lock at making his country's roster. Another, Jose Vidro (Puerto Rico---insert obligatory Isn't P.R. part of the U.S.A.? observation), is dependent on his health. And another one, Brian Schneider, just might make Team America.

The US preliminary roster features six catchers:

  • Michael Barrett (Cubs)
  • Paul Lo Duca (Mets)
  • Joe Mauer (Twins)
  • Chad Moeller (Brewers)
  • Schneider
  • Jason Varitek (Red Sox)
Team America manager* Buck Martinez was just on XM Home Plate, and (as an old catcher) he specifically addressed what he plans to do at catcher:
  • carry three, for sure,
  • selected based on a) experience catching big-time pitchers, b) "winning make-up," and c) defensive ability.
Martinez noted that he is still trying to recruit big leaguers to join Team USA, but for our purposes, let us look at the preliminary roster as it currently is. I am presuming that Varitek and Lo Duca are locks. (I do wonder, however, why a game named DiFelice is playing for the Italian team when a guy named Lo Duca isn't.) They are both respected veterans, known for their leadership, and able to be platooned or complemented as a matter of in-game strategy. During the radio interview, Martinez stressed that he will not play the task-master; this is during the time traditionally reserved for spring training, and he recognizes that his players are members of professional teams who pay them large amounts of money and rely upon their services accordingly.

That presumably leaves one spot open, with Barrett, Mauer, Moeller, and Schneider remaining. Hopefully, we can cut a lesser-light like Moeller from consideration right off the top---which would leave us with three guys remaining for the third spot:

  • Barrett: potent hitter; could be called upon to play third base in a pinch if needed (maybe not necessary, given a 30-man roster);
  • Mauer: young hot-shot, good lefty stick, could be given the Christian Laettner Memorial Young Turk Spot; and,
  • Schneider: very good defensive reputation, competent lefty bat.
Applying the criteria set forth by Martinez above, I'm guessing that none of the remaining three is really a proven winner, Barrett has caught some big-time pitchers (Prior, Zambrano, Wood, Maddux), and Schneider is noted for his defense. For his part, Mauer is regarded as a future star.

So you tell me: who would you choose as your third catcher? (And selecting from the three of these guys to be your third catcher is a pretty nice dilemma, wouldn't you say?)

*Check out the managers. Roberto Kelly? Luis Sojo? Jose Oquendo? Manny Acta? Ernie Whitt? Jim Lefebvre? To Be Determined? Sadaharu Friggin' Oh? Robert Eeeeeeeeenhoooooooorn? Sweet!