USA Dream Team for the WBC?

After reading this thread about the WBC, I started thinking about the best team the USA could field. It was hard to come up with a list because there are so many great Latin American players that are ineligible for the USA squad. I may have inadvertently discarded some American born players assuming they were from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela etc.

So what follows is my list and I hope it elicits additions and alterations. For the sake of simplicity I chose two players from each position, and six starters and six relievers. That brings me to 28 players total, which is the size of the current USA WBC roster, although that team is carrying fifteen pitchers. Picking relievers was especially tough for me…I know some long relievers are more desirable and/or worthy, but I don’t know the best from each team so I just chose closers.

Here is my dream team:

C Brian McCann, Joe Mauer

1B Ryan Howard, Kevin Youkilis

2B Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia

SS JImmy Rollins, Derek Jeter

3B David Wright, Evan Longoria

RF Jermaine Dye, Ryan Ludwick

CF Josh Hamilton, Grady Sizemore

LF Matt Holiday, Carlos Quentin
SP CC Sabathia, Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy, Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb

RP Brad Lidge, Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain, Kerry Wood, Billy Wagner

C Brian McCann, Joe Mauer: I can’t argue with these picks at all - the rest of the best are imports, and these two hold their own against any others.
1B Ryan Howard, Kevin Youkilis: I think I would rather have Berkman and Teixeira in here. For a full season, I think it’s not the best combo because of injury concerns, but for a short series, they’re superior.
2B Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia: See catchers.
SS JImmy Rollins, Derek Jeter: I’d rather have Michael Young over Jeter.
3B David Wright, Evan Longoria: This is the correct answer, but if A-Rod was healthy, I’d give him the nod over Longoria.
RF Jermaine Dye, Ryan Ludwick: I’d prefer Nick Markakis, Corey Hart, Alex Rios or Brad Hawpe over either of those guys.
CF Josh Hamilton, Grady Sizemore: Yup. Can’t go wrong there.
LF Matt Holiday, Carlos Quentin: Also the best choices.

SP CC Sabathia, Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy, Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb: USA! USA! USA!

RP Brad Lidge, Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain, Kerry Wood, Billy Wagner: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with stacking the deck with closers instead of middle relievers. There may be guys better suited to coming in and pitching 2-3 innings, but both Joba and Kerry Wood are capable.

I’d definitely agree with Berkman over Howard, but the advantage of Youkilis over Texiera is Youkilis can play third.

I’m not convinced the logical way to do this is to have two guys for every position, though; do you really need two first basemen?

Munch… Alex Rios over Jermaine Dye? Watch him play for a year. Believe me, he’s not as good as his stats suggest, and his stats arent all that.

Dye’s all over the board, about as inconsistent a player there is. At his best, there’s few better. But his defense is sub-par and I’m still bitter about the Royals trading him away for Neifi Perez.

(Heh - just read this on his wiki page: “Dye, Mike Sweeney, and Carlos Beltran composed the **historic **2000 Royals offense.” (bolding mine)

No Carl Crawford?

I completely forgot Texiera and I’m a Yankee fan (plus I know he’s from Maryland.)

Does the WBC always have the DH? If so, that makes more room for first baseman/DH types.

Fair enough, but I was more curious about your choice of Rios than exclusion of Dye. I don’t even think Rios is the best American outfielder playing for the Blue Jays. (I agree Markakis would be an excellent selection.)

Rios was born in Alabama but played for Puerto Rico in the last WBC.

It does have the DH.
Some other names I’d consider - Ryan Braun (especially since there is a DH), Dan Haren and Cole Hamels. I’d take Chipper Jones instead of Evan Longoria on the OP’s list - but when building a real team, I don’t think you take two third baseman (you’d have more pitchers). And of course A-Rod if eligible and healthy would top either Chipper or Longoria.