The 2013 World Baseball Classic is a wrap, and we have a new champion in Team Dominican Republic.
The Dominicans rolled through the event undefeated, notching wins against Venezuela, Spain, Italy, the United States and Team Netherlands on the way to snagging the WBC crown. They topped Team Puerto Rico a total of three times — once in pool play, once in the second round and again on Tuesday night in their first-ever World Baseball Classic championship game at a rain-soaked AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Dominican starter Samuel Deduno delivered five scoreless innings in the 3-0 win, allowing only two Puerto Rican hits while fanning five. Deduno yielded one earned run in 13 World Baseball Classic innings. He was followed Tuesday by Dominican relievers Octavio Dotel, Pedro Strop, Santiago Casilla and Fernando Rodney, who all contributed scoreless frames.
Edwin Encarnacion played the biggest role on offense in the championship game, smacking a tone-setting two-run double in the bottom of the first inning after Team Puerto Rico decided to intentionally walk the batter in front of him, Robinson Cano. Cano was 0-for-3 on the night but had a massively productive tournament.
Team Japan was crowned WBC champion in 2006 and 2009. They lost in the semifinals this year.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.