The upcoming World Baseball Classic has another big name committed to participate, as Washington National starter Gio Gonzalez has announced he will pitch for the United States. The 27-year-old southpaw will join the likes of Justin Verlander and R.A. Dickey, making for a very formidable rotation. While undoubtedly an excellent addition to the team, this development does come at a surprising time considering Gonzalez has yet to clear his name from a recent link to performance enhancing drugs.
Gonzalez is coming off a very successful first season in the National League after being traded from Oakland last offseason, as he won 21 games with the Nationals and finished third in the Cy Young voting. All told, FanGraphs valued his contributions at 5.4 WAR, second in the league behind only Clayton Kershaw.
While the recent connection with PEDs may be hanging over Gonzalez at the moment, his decision to pitch should nonetheless be celebrated — the talent level for the WBC just got a welcome boost, and that’s the most important thing here.