Cubs well represented at World Baseball Classic
Isaiah Downing - USA Today Sports

Cubs well represented at World Baseball Classic

by - Senior Writer -

As we rapidly approach the first pitch of Spring Training, baseball is just around the corner and will our hearts for nine months. However, unlike seasons past, this spring training will be different as the World Baseball Classic is set to kick off on March 5.

The Ultimate Baseball tournament returns for the first time since 2017, when the United States brought home the title. There will be 20 teams in the field for the first time, and some of the best players worldwide are set to represent their country.

That means when Spring Training kicks off, expect many teams to use their starters sooner than usual to prep them for this event. Once the event starts, spring rosters will look different as some of their star players will be at this event.

When it comes to the Cubs, they not only have a few of their players from this year's team in the event, but are very well represented from the top down. This should give even the most casual Cubs fan a reason to watch as they want to see how their favorite players do while cheering on their country.

With 20 teams in the field, you can see why there would be so many players, but not all of them are major league players. Not all rosters are finalized at this time, but the ones that have several Cubs players and former players part of them.

Here are those players:

Seiya Suzuki

The one team with the best chance to dethrone the US this year would be Japan. They are loaded with pitching and high-contact hitters, as they could cause many problems for any of the 19 other teams. The most recent name added to their roster is Cubs RF Seiya Suzuki.

After signing with the Cubs last offseason, Suzuki endured an injury plagued first half of the year before figuring things out during the second half. This is a massive year for him, and this tournament may help prepare him. Team Japan also has former Cubs ace Yu Darvish leading the staff, which has become the norm for them.

Darvish had an up-and-down tenure with the Cubs, but his final season on the Northside saw him pitching the best ball of his career, which led to his trade to San Diego. These players have always loved the game, which will show once again at the WBC.

Former Cub Jose Quintana

While the Columbia roster hasn't formally been announced, expect Jose Quintana to be a part of this squad. Going back to the last WBC, Quintana was a beast for Columbia and nearly eliminated the US from the tournament field.

Later on that season, Quintana was traded to the Cubs for Dylan Cease, and Eloy Jimenez, and the rest is history. Of all the trades the Cubs have made over the years, this is one of the deals they would love to have back, especially when you look at how Cease turned out.

Marcus Stroman and former Cub Javy Baez

By far, the flashiest team in the WBC is Puerto Rico, and that will again be the case. Headlined by start studded infield, Javy Baez will again be back in the fold as he looks to duplicate his last WBC performance.

It was this time in 2017 when Baez put on a show at the WBC and started to come into MVP form the following year. Given how badly he has struggled in recent seasons, this may be what he needs to get back on track.

The biggest surprise of the whole tournament is seeing Marcus Stroman on this roster. He was the ace of team USA in 2017 and pitched them to the WBC title. Stroman has dual citizenship in both the US and Puerto Rico and has elected to go with Puerto Rico this time. Hopefully, he pitches well, but not when he faces the US.

Former Cubs Mark DeRosa and Kyle Schwarber

Team USA is where the most familiar faces can be found, and rightfully so. That all starts with manager Mark DeRosa who spent two seasons with the Cubs in 2007-08. Known as a utility type of player, DeRosa had some of his best years with the Cubs, including his career-best 21 homer and 87 RBI season in 2008.

He will inherit a talented roster headlined by some of the game's best as the United States looks to repeat as WBC champs.

None of the current Cubs players are on the WBC roster, but a fan favorite will be playing in it for the first time. That would be Kyle Schwarber, whose time with the Cubs ended in 2020.

Known for towering homers and his infectious personality, Schwarber was a fan favorite on the Northside during his time and still is today. Of all the players the Cubs whiffed on in free agency, this is the one that hurts the most, as Schwarber is the one that got away.

Granted, his average is not where anyone thought it would be; his power numbers are elite. For a team desperate for left-handed power, he was the ideal player to give them that. With half of the teams still waiting to release their roster, look for more Cubs players to join this field as they want the best exposure heading into the WBC.

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