GLENDALE, AZ – Coming off his breakout season in 2022, Dylan Cease was planning on pitching on the national stage next month, competing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. But before the final roster was announced, a collective decision was made for Cease to skip the WBC and keep his entire focus this spring on getting ready for the White Sox season instead.
“I got talked out of it. I wanted to (play in the WBC). I was excited about it,” Cease explained on the White Sox Talk Podcast. “I have a lot of responsibilities on this team, responsibilities to my family and all that. It just made more sense to maybe wait and play a little later on in my career.”
At 27-years-old, Cease seems to be entering the prime of his career right now. He finished second to Justin Verlander last season for the AL Cy Young Award, going 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA. Had he been given the green light to play in the WBC, he would have joined fellow teammates Lance Lynn, Kendall Graveman and Tim Anderson on the American squad.
Why do players like Cease want to jump into such an intense competition this early in the season? All you had to do was see Graveman tear up while speaking with reporters on Thursday, talking about what it means to be playing for his country.
“I’m humbled honestly by the thought that they’d even mention me in the same category as some of those guys. It’s emotional to me to represent this country, to put on that jersey,” Graveman said.
The 30-man roster is being managed by former major leaguer and current MLB Network analyst Mark DeRosa. With Mike Trout as its captain, the U.S. features a squad packed with All-Stars, like Mookie Betts, Paul Goldschmidt, Pete Alonzo, Trea Turner and Clayton Kershaw.
“I was really excited about it at first,” Cease said. “It’s really unique and such a cool experience to be able to represent our country, but I’m obviously going to root for them and I’ll probably watch every game.”