Having never finished better than fourth place in 2009, Team USA is primed for a more successful showing in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy were the latest high-profile players added to the roster.
The group of position players includes the likes of Nolan Arenado, Brandon Crawford, Eric Hosmer, Adam Jones, Ian Kinsler, Jonathan Lucroy, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Christian Yelich.
Beyond that, Team USA is hoping to carry a formidable starting rotation. At present time, their staff is comprised of Chris Archer, Danny Duffy, Max Scherzer and Marcus Stroman.
That may eventually include Clayton Kershaw and other top aces, as the expected rule permitting teams to add pitchers between WBC rounds was approved, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network:
A long-anticipated World Baseball Classic rule change is official: WBC organizers have created a 10-member “designated pitcher pool,” from which national teams may add up to two pitchers following each round of the tournament, a source confirmed to MLB.com.
The rule change allows Kershaw, and others, to face international competition without leaving their team for multiple weeks during Spring Training.
Although Kershaw has not publicly committed to pitching for Team USA during the semifinals or final (March 20-22) at Dodger Stadium, it’s believed he will indeed be added to the roster. Pool C play, which includes the United States team, begins March 10 at Marlins Park.
Other Dodgers expected to play in the 2017 WBC are Adrian Gonzalez (Mexico), Kenley Jansen (Netherlands) and Kenta Maeda (Japan). Yasiel Puig, ineligible to represent Cuba due to his defection, was hopeful to join Team Mexico, but failed to submit necessary paperwork.
Japan won the WBC in 2006 and 2009, and the Dominican Republic won the most recent tournament (2013).