Troy Tulowitzki made it clear that he wanted to play for the United States in the World Baseball Classic despite missing most of last season following groin surgery, but the decision has been taken out of his hands by an insurance company.
Tulowitzki has $140 million remaining on his long-term contract and the Rockies have the deal insured, which means the insurance company gets to decide if they want him playing in an exhibition tournament. And they don’t, predictably.
It’s the same issue that Albert Pujols faced in potentially playing for the Dominican Republic and Joey Votto may run into the same problem for Canada. Obviously the WBC would love all the biggest stars to play, but the bigger the contract the smaller the chance they’ll be cleared to participate.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.