Rodriguez was criticized for his indecision the first go-round, and is likely to catch more flak in the U.S. if he does indeed announce that he will flip-flop teams in 2009. But because of Rodriguez’s highly public divorce and an affair with pop singer Madonna, MLB may be inclined to shift its marketing focus for the U.S. team to young stars such as Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies, Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins.
The last (and first) WBC U.S. team featured then-Astro Dan Wheeler and a bunch of aging stars. Longoria certainly seems likely to contend for the third base job if chosen, although you'd have to figure Chipper Jones is the man if he elects to play. Carl Crawford also seems likely to get a roster spot that he missed out on last time, that could leave the Rays with more than a handful of players participating this season. That's quite an upgrade and should help with marketing and jersey sales if nothing else.