Rick Porcello will skip the 2017 World Baseball Classic – SB Nation

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The World Baseball Classic in March is going to make our wait for actual competitive baseball a little bit shorter and much more entertaining. There’s already a strong sense of anticipation and excitement with every name that’s confirmed to play for the USA squad, which is hoping to finally build a team that can compete for a podium spot at the Classic. Guys like Nolan Arenado, Chris Archer, Jonathan Lucroy, and the reigning National League Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer have already committed to wearing the stars-and-stripes at the WBC. However, the AL Cy Young winner has made it known that he won’t be participating in the festivities.

Rick Porcello bounced back in a major way from a poor 2015 season and managed to pitch exceptionally well for the Red Sox in 2016 — to the point where he edged out Justin Verlander to win the Cy Young. After the year he had, it would have been great to see him join Scherzer on the USA squad, which could boast having a Cy Young duo on the roster. Unfortunately for fans of the international game, Porcello understandably decided that he’d rather focus on preparing for the regular season with the Red Sox instead of taking on some of the world’s best players in international competition.

Porcello told WEEI that he’s a club-first guy and wants to make sure that he’s “100 percent” ready to contribute to the Red Sox. That makes sense — especially when you consider that 2016 was by far his best season on the mound. His ERA and FIP of 3.15 and 3.40, respectively, were both career lows, and his strikeout rate and walk rate both took big jumps in production. It’s understandable that Porcello would want to make sure that 2017 is another year of progression instead of being proof of a fluke 2016, so we won’t see him in the WBC. Still, it would’ve been fun to see the USA squad have both Cy Young winners from 2016. Maybe in 2021?

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