While the Blue Jays await for Spring Training 2023, some current Blue Jays are preparing and gearing up for some bigger-stage baseball; the World Baseball Classic. This tournament is almost as, if not more, intriguing than the Major League Baseball season, as each team suites up to represent their nation on the International stage.
While we recently witnessed a “World Series”, the true world match will commence on March 8th, 2023, hosted in Taichung, Taiwan; Tokyo, Japan; Phoenix, Arizona and Miami, Florida. 20 countries will face off to raise the world banner; Team USA being the current defending champions. Can we expect to see Blue Jays participants?
The Toronto Blue Jays are comprised of a diverse group of ball players, originating from all over the world, and share roots other than their origin. We can expect to see various players from the Blue Jays, take the stage to play for their respective nations.
Let’s start with the infamous Team Dominican Republic! Although he’s born in Montreal, Quebec, it is without a doubt that Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will compete for the homeland, team DR. Following suite to this roster, and in the bullpen for the Dominican Republic is right-hander, Yimi García. Former Blue Jays outfielder, Teoscar Hernández will also be on the roster.
One of 2017 WBC finalists, the always-dangerous Team Puerto Rico has listed José Berríos as one of their starting pitchers, in hopes of chasing another finals appearance. Browsing down the Blue Jays 40-man roster, it is believed right-handed reliever, Zach Pop could be a fit for Team Canada, as a part of their staff. Who else can join him? Blue Jays closer, the Markham boy, Jordan Romano. However, Romano is set to be representing team Italy again, in this year’s classic. Also rumoured to be participating is Blue Jays slugging catcher, Alejandro Kirk, as a part of Team Mexico.
The Blue Jays also have some alumni involved in this year’s WBC. Set to be on Team Canada’s coaching staff, Paul Quantrill. Quantrill pitched 6 seasons with the Blue Jays, from 1996 to 2001. Tim Leiper is also listed as a coach for Team Canada; Leiper spent time with the Blue Jays as a senior minor league advisor, and a 1st base coach with the big club in 2014. Managing Team Canada is Ernie Whitt, who spent 1977-1978, and 1980-1989 as a player with the Blue Jays.
As we move closer to the month of March, more roster announcements will prevail for the 2023 WBC; this will be a fun time to keep track of the blue birds as they play meaningful baseball prior to the start of the MLB season.