Feb 21, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) poses for a picture during photo day at the Royals Spring Training Facility. Image Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA has a First Base Problem

The problem with Team USA at First Base is not quite the problem that the St. Louis Cardinals have at short stop but it should be seen as a telling sign nevertheless.

When Mark Teixeira exited a game with a wrist injury this week, it was announced that he would be withdrawn from the roster for Team USA.

The news was announced today that Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer would replace him.

Why Hosmer? Why not Prince Fielder? The Tiger first baseman would be the best candidate for the job. Allen Craig is battling a sore shoulder at the moment or he would likely have been considered.

Hosmer batted a dismal .232 last season after finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting for the 2011 season. His being selected does not make any sense to me. He’s not a proven player like the rest of the American roster is. He’s not an All-Star. So why was he selected over Gold Glove-winning first baseman or All-Star first baseman?

Is it because teams are worried that their star players could get injured during a game? I don’t know. It is a fact that players get hurt. Some are freak accidents. Just ask Carl Pavano how often somebody injures their spleen while shoveling snow.

With his being named to the roster, Hosmer is the only guy that regularly plays first base. Yes, Team USA has Joe Mauer, Ben Zobrist, and Willie Bloomquist but they aren’t really a first baseman. Bloomquist, a veteran of 11 seasons, has only played first base for a grand total of 37 games. Zobrist, a veteran of 7 seasons, isn’t much better. The utilityman has seen more playing time at other positions as he’s played first base for a grand total of 17 games.

Hosmer is having a hot spring. I’ll give him credit for that but his selection to the team is just mind boggling.

Tags: Kansas City Royals

  • Michael Engel

    Morosi reported that they wanted to get a left-handed bat to replace Teixeira, and Passan suggested that they wanted a guy who was in spring training in Arizona (where Team USA’s pool play is taking place).

    So there goes Konerko, Goldschmidt. Rizzo’s less-established than Hosmer, Joey Votto’s on Team Canada. Mark Reynolds is a righty. Carlos Santana is on Team DR,

    Maybe they could have asked Todd Helton, but he’s getting way up there and after his DUI…maybe not a guy they want to go after. Pujols would have probably been a DR guy, Daric Barton isn’t anybody, Yonder Alonso would be Team Cuba. Adrian Gonzalez is playing for Mexico.

    That narrows it down to Brandon Belt and maybe Mitch Moreland as lefties in the Cactus League. Maybe they’re better options, but they seem to have had a specific guy they were after.

    If teams were able to block everyone just because of fear of injury, there wouldn’t be big leaguers playing. The Royals have five guys out of big league camp playing and Miguel Tejada will make the team as a sixth. The league wants big leaguers to play and teams are complying unless they have a good reason not to (that they can present to the league).