Chris Archer accepts invitation to pitch in 2017 World Baseball Classic – CBSSports.com
Team USA’s pitching staff for the 2017 World Baseball Classic is beginning to take shape.
Just a few days after Nationals ace Max Scherzer accepted an invitation to pitch in the WBC, Rays ace Chris Archer has done the same. Archer confirmed to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times he will indeed pitch for Team USA in the tournament next spring.
“It’s an honor. I know not everybody gets asked, not everybody gets invited. It’s been one of my dreams to do since it started in 2006. I was in high school and I remember watching it saying one day it would be really, really cool,” Archer said.
“Since we don’t have the Olympics (for major-leaguers) this is basically the Olympics of our sport. It’s the pinnacle of international play for our sport. It’s all major leaguers. It’s highly competitive. I’m stoked to be a part of it, and representing USA baseball.”
Archer, 28, had a tough 2016 season, going 9-19 with a 4.02 ERA in 201 1/3 innings. He did strike out 233 batters though, and a year ago Archer finished fifth in the AL Cy Young voting. At age 28, the 2016 season likely represents a down year rather than a true decline in skills.
With Scherzer and Archer on board, the Team USA rotation already looks stronger than previous versions. Here are the pitchers who made starts for Team USA in the first three World Baseball Classics:
- 2006: Roger Clemens, Jake Peavy, Dontrelle Willis
- 2009: Peavy, Roy Oswalt, Ted Lilly, Jeremy Guthrie
- 2013: R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong, Gio Gonzalez, Derek Holland
Team USA submitted a 50-player preliminary roster last month, and it did not include Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. They can be added to the roster later, but right now neither player is willing to commit to the event. They’d rather focus on preparing for the 2017 season with their teams. Rosters don’t have to be finalized until January.
Jim Leyland will manage Team USA. We built our ideal roster back in April. The 2017 WBC will begin with pool play on March 9. The Championship Game will be played on March 22 at Dodger Stadium.