2 Reds players who've hurt their cause during the WBC and 1 who's helped it

Fernando Cruz in the World Baseball Classic as part of Team Puerto Rico
Fernando Cruz in the World Baseball Classic as part of Team Puerto Rico / Eric Espada/GettyImages
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The World Baseball Classic has certainly been a polarizing event over the last few weeks, hasn't it? While I'm not necessarily a fan of the tournament myself, it's always fun to see the best international stars from their respective sports compete for their country.

The WBC has had its share of controversy, most recently with the season-ending injury to New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz. But, several young players have also experienced jubilation and have made a name for themselves on the international stage.

With that in mind, let's look at three different Cincinnati Reds players who are or have participated in the World Baseball Classic. Two players have actually hurt their cause by playing in the WBC, while one has elevated his level of play.

Reds OF Henry Ramos hurt his cause while playing in the WBC.

Henry Ramos was having a very nice spring until he jetted off to the World Baseball Classic to play for Team Puerto Rico. Yadier Molina's squad was bounced out of the WBC on Friday after a 5-4 loss to Mexico, but Ramos' time spent away from Goodyear may have cost him a spot on the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster.

Ramos will be returning to Reds spring training this week. Before he left for the WBC, Ramos was hitting .571 with eight hits in 14 at-bats and four RBIs while posting an OPS of 1.374.

Competition has been fierce for a spot in the Reds outfield, but it would appear as though almost every position on the Cincinnati Opening Day roster is now spoken for.

Had Ramos produced while playing in the World Baseball Classic, perhaps he'd still be in contention for a spot on the Cincinnati Reds 26-man roster. But instead, Ramos received just ABs in the WBC and didn't record a hit.

Henry Ramos will probably be designated for assignment next week and begin his 2023 season in Triple-A Louisville. It was already a long-shot for Ramos to break camp with the Reds, but that seems utterly impossible after his trip to the World Baseball Classic.

Reds RHP Luis Cessa hurt his cause while playing in the WBC.

Team Mexico may have won their quarterfinal game against Puerto Rico on Friday night, but that's not going to help Luis Cessa's cause in his quest to rejoin the Cincinnati Reds rotation in 2023.

Cessa was in line to be part of the Reds rotation once camp opened in February. One could argue that the veteran had the inside track to the No. 4 starter before he joined Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

But a lack of innings pitched is sure to land the right-hander in the Reds bullpen to begin the season. Cessa has appeared in just one game during the World Baseball Classic despite the fact that Mexico has advanced to the semifinals.

Cessa has logged just two innings pitched and allowed two hits and one run while recording one punch out. Meanwhile, Luke Weaver, Connor Overton, and Brandon Williamson have been jockeying for those final two spots in the Reds rotation.

This time away from Goodyear is not going to help Luis Cessa's case for making the Reds starting rotation. The 30-year-old will almost assuredly be given a spot in the Cincinnati bullpen, which may actually be of benefit to the Reds.

While Weaver has experience as a reliever, Cincinnati would prefer to keep both Williamson and Overton in the rotation. The final week of spring training may decide which pitcher begins the season in Triple-A and which pitcher grabs the spot as the team's fifth starter.

Reds RHP Fernando Cruz helped his cause while playing in the WBC.

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Fernando Cruz has done nothing to hurt his cause while playing in the World Baseball Classic. In fact, he may have helped himself tremendously with his performance during the WBC.

Team Puerto Rico was unable to reach the WBC semifinals, but don't blame Cruz for that. Other than Yackel Rios, Cruz appeared in more games than anyone for Puerto Rico.

The right-hander spent most of last season at Triple-A Louisville and finally realized his major league dream at the age of 32 after being drafted as an infielder back in 2007. Cruz, along with Spencer Steer, was September call-up last season.

Despite being with the big league club for just one month, Cruz finished with 0.8 bWAR and a 1.23 ERA in 14 appearances. In the WBC, Cruz made three relief appearances covering 3.2 innings while allowing just one run on four hits while striking out five batters.

Look for Fernando Cruz to occupy a spot along side fellow countryman Alexis Diaz in the backend of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. Cruz may end up being one of the better Reds relievers in 2023. Of course, that's not saying much given the current state of the Cincinnati bullpen.

Next. 3 Reds who should be cut, but won't be. dark