The World Baseball Classic begins next month, the first time the series has been played since 2017, when the United States beat Puerto Rico to bring home their first WBC title. Japan won the first two Classics in 2006 and 2009, and the Dominican Republic brought home the title in 2013.
Rosters for the different countries are still being compiled, but by our count, there are currently eight Dodgers players and one coach committed to the WBC.
- Freddie Freeman
- Julio Urias
- Austin Barnes
- Victor Gonzalez
- Miguel Rojas
The WBC will make spring training interesting for Los Angeles. Both of their big-league catchers will be playing in the WBC, which will mean more Cactus League playing time for minor-league backstops. How much of that time will go to prospects like Diego Cartaya and Dalton Rushing, and how much will go to depth pieces like Patrick Mazeika and David Freitas?
Rojas playing for Venezuela could also complicate things for L.A. as they try to decide who will be their starting shortstop in 2023. Gavin Lux will presumably get the bulk of the starts at short during the spring to get a chance to prove he can hold it down over there. The nice thing is, the team already knows what to expect from Rojas at short, so if Lux can’t hack it, Rojas will be ready to step in.
Having both Kershaw and Urias in the WBC is a little concerning simply because the Dodgers need both to be healthy for seven months starting in late March, so extra innings on their arms might not be ideal. But both pitchers are veterans, and both have earned the right to represent their countries.
WBC play begins on March 8, although no Dodgers will be playing until March 11. Rojas will be playing the first round in Miami, while the USA, Canada, and Mexico teams will be in Pool C playing in Phoenix in the first round. Any Dodgers players who make it past the first round will play the rest of their tournament in Miami, with the championship game scheduled for March 21.
Did we miss any WBC Dodgers? Which country will you be rooting for?
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