Marcus Stroman pitching ‘Dream Team’ for 2021 World Baseball Classic; Yelich, Arenado, more in for USA

Major League Baseball is currently on indefinite hiatus because of the growing threat that is a novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We don’t know when we’ll see baseball this year. We will have extra baseball next year though. 2021 is a World Baseball Classic year and that’s pretty awesome. I know it’s cool to hate the WBC, but it’s a lot of fun. You’re missing out if you skip it.

Marcus Stroman led Team USA to WBC gold medal in 2017 — he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in the clinching game — and he is already hard at work recruiting a “Dream Team” for 2021. Stroman has taken to social media to contact players, and has secured commitments from 2017 WBC teammates Christian Yelich and Eric Hosmer.

Hosmer and Yelich are hardly the only big-name players to announce their interest in playing in the 2021 WBC. Stroman said Nolan Arenado, another 2017 WBC teammate, and Mike Clevinger have also committed to the event.

More commitments rolled in after that. Cody Bellinger is in. Trevor Story is in. Walker Buehler is in. David Dahl is in. Joey Gallo is in. Trevor Bauer is in. Pete Alonso said it would be an honor to play in the 2021 WBC.

Stroman also reached out to Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, but has been unable to secure a commitment. Betts is scheduled to become a free agent following the 2020 season, so he has more important things on his mind. He might want to spend spring training with his new team in Year 1 of his new contract. Trout has resisted playing in the WBC in the past.

MLB has struggled at times to lure big name stars to the WBC. Teams can not prevent healthy players from participating — they can block rehabbing players from the WBC — but many players prefer to remain in spring training and focus on the season. Perhaps with Team USA’s win in 2017 and Stroman’s recruiting pitch, Team USA can build a star-studded powerhouse for 2021.

MLB announced dates and venues for the 2021 WBC earlier this month. Pool play begins March 9, the quarterfinals will take place March 16-20, and the championship round will be held March 21-23 at Marlins Park. Qualified rounds scheduled for this month have been postponed due to COVID-19.

Sunday is the anniversary of USA clinching 2017 WBC gold. MLB Network will air 11 hours of WBC-themed programming that day, including the championship clinching game, beginning at 11 a.m. ET. 

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