Washington Nationals: Scherzer Is Right Choice For Team USA
It is absolutely the right choice that Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer will be one of the pitchers for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic this March
On Tuesday afternoon, Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer is one of the names on the preliminary roster for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic that takes place in March. Scherzer did not pitch in any of the previous three WBC’s.
Some people might ask whether Scherzer should be pitching for Team USA. He deserves it based on merit, but he has thrown over 228 innings in each of the last two seasons (over 240 in 2016 if you count the postseason). With spring training being around that time, the workload for the pitchers isn’t that high in this tournament, so Scherzer probably wouldn’t throw too many innings.
With that being said, this is absolutely the right decision by Scherzer. For one, I enjoy the World Baseball Classic because it’s a great thing for the sport to have all of these countries play their best players to help grow the game, even if it takes place during spring training. I do agree with my fellow co-editor that Bryce Harper should participate, if healthy, because he is one of the superstars in the game.
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This March, Team USA will have Jim Leyland as its manager. Leyland managed Scherzer in Detroit from 2010-2013. When you look at this situation, this is best for Scherzer and the Washington Nationals to have Leyland as the manager because he knows Scherzer as well as anyone does and will have the best interest of Team USA as well as the Nationals franchise.
If you go back to the 2013 WBC, no pitcher on team USA threw more than 82 pitches in any particular round (R.A. Dickey in the second round against the Dominican Republic). With relievers such as Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances also on the preliminary roster, Scherzer would probably not be throwing 120 pitches if he made a start. The starters don’t go as deep into games in the tournament because of the pitch count rules for each particular round.
Scherzer might win the NL Cy Young award in a few weeks and claim the second Cy Young of his career. If Team USA has Scherzer on their team in what should be a formidable rotation, they will have the chance to win this tournament for the first time since it began in 2006.
While I understand why some fans might not want Scherzer to go at the risk of injury, this tournament is great for the game of baseball and the best stars should want to compete in this tournament. We will see if Scherzer decides to take his name off the roster before January. If he doesn’t, this is a good move for Scherzer.