Mets closer Jeurys Familia and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera have requested permission to play winter ball in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. But general manager Sandy Alderson said it’s possible that neither is given the green light.
“In terms of playing winter ball to get prepared for the WBC, that’s something that right now we have not permitted either one,” Alderson said. “And we may or may not.”
Familia hopes to play for the Dominican Republic, while Cabrera would represent Venezuela. But Cabrera battled a knee problem for much of last year and Familia dealt with a heavy workload out of the bullpen.
“We’re generally supportive of the WBC,” Alderson said. “I don’t want to give a sense that we’re not supportive of the competition. But every case is a little bit different.”
Alderson noted the potential danger of playing winter ball. Centerfielder Juan Lagares injured his shoulder while making a diving catch on Saturday playing in the Dominican Republic. The injury was a relatively minor sprain.
Said Alderson: “Obviously, with what happened to Juan Lagares, there’s always risk associated with winter ball.”
Brandon Nimmo (Italy), Michael Conforto (Italy), Ty Kelly (Israel) and Seth Lugo (Puerto Rico) are also included on preliminary rosters though it’s unclear who will be participating in the tournament.
Earlier this offseason, Noah Syndergaard declined an invitation to pitch for the United States, a decision he said was relatively easy.
“No, not really at all,” Syndergaard said. “I’m focused on competing in the MLB and getting to a World Series. That’s really all I’m focused on.”