While Clayton Kershaw’s focus is on aiding the Los Angeles Dodgers, he’s a point of interest for Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Along with Kershaw, Team USA is targeting multiple elite players for the upcoming tournament.
Getting top talent to join the United States roster has been difficult in recent years. That’s in stark contrast to several international players playing for their respective country. Kenley Jansen has already made it clear he intends to pitch for Netherlands.
Adrian Gonzalez played for Team Mexico during Spring Training to help them earn a berth to the 2017 WBC. It’s certainly plausible he joins them next year, along with his Dodgers teammate Julio Urias.
While the WBC is the next major international even on the schedule, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo aren’t too far off.
With it marks the return of baseball to the Olympic Games. Well before the International Olympic Committee announced their decision, Kershaw casted doubt on the probability of baseball becoming part of the Summer Games, via Ronald Blum of the Associated Press:
“It’s not going to happen. I don’t think it’s fathomable,” Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said.
Given the Olympics are held during the midst of a Major League Baseball season, convincing Kershaw and others to leave their team figures to be an uphill battle. The NHL and WNBA combat that issue by suspends their seasons during the Olympics.
In the 2008 Olympic baseball tournament, only players who weren’t on 25-man Major League rosters were allowed to compete. That tournament saw the likes of prospects such as Jake Arrieta and Stephen Strausburg participate.