Detroit Tigers Puerto Rico shortstop Javier Báez became the latest star to commit to playing in the World Baseball Classic Wednesday afternoon.
Báez will play for the Puerto Rican national team once again in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Báez was a key member of the 2017 Puerto Rican team that got Puerto Rico Baseball Jersey all the way to the championship game, falling to the United States 8-0.
Major League Baseball tweeted Wednesday afternoon that Báez will represent his native country in the 2023 event.
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Báez joins Twins infielders Carlos Correa and José Miranda and Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman as the first Major League players to commit to playing for Team Puerto Rico for 2023.
Stroman was the MVP of the 2017 World Baseball Classic for Team USA, but announced recently that he will cross over and play for the team that Team USA beat in the WBC title game in 2023 instead. Stroman’s mother is of Puerto Rican decent.
In addition to Báez and Correa, Puerto Rico’s 2017 team also included MLB players Carlos Beltran, Francisco Lindor, Edwin Diaz, Jose Berrios and Yadier Molina.
Báez is in the middle of his worst full big-league season, slashing just .230/.272/.641 with 12 home runs, 52 RBI, eight stolen bases and an 85 OPS+.
Báez has struggled in the field this season too. In the first year of his six-year, $140 million contract with the Tigers, Báez leads the majors in errors with 23 and has a fielding percentage of .955, to go with -3 Defensive Runs Saved and 0.5 Defensive Wins Above Replacement.
Perhaps spending a spring with other stars from his native country will help him bounce-back in 2023.
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