By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Yordano Carmona of Pelota Cubana USA spoke with Aroldis Chapman recently, who told the outlet that he has been added to Great Britain’s 50-man roster for the World Baseball Classic.
It is unclear if he will suit up in Phoenix for Great Britain in March. Francys Romero of BeisbolFR.com reported that Chapman was added to the British roster without being consulted and is unlikely to play for Great Britain in March.
Chapman, from Cuba, is of Jamaican descent. Jamaica was a British colony until 1962, and Chapman is eligible for British Citizenship through his parents’ status as subjects of the British Commonwealth. If a player is eligible for citizenship in the country, they qualify to represent that national team for the World Baseball Classic.
Chapman competed for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. They advanced beyond the group stage but were eliminated in the second round, losing to the eventual champion Japan. He subsequently defected from Cuba to play in the Major Leagues. While several Cuban players who play in the Major Leagues are expected to play for Cuba in the upcoming WBC, the Federation Cubana de Beisbol has stated that players who defected while playing for the Cuban National Team will not be included on the roster. Chapman defected while the Cuban National Team was in Rotterdam, Netherlands at a 2009 international tournament.
Aroldis Chapman recently agreed to a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Kansas City Royals. He joined Kansas City after a seven-year stint with the Yankees. During his time in pinstripes, Chapman racked up 153 saves registered and a 2.94 earned run average.
Great Britain manager Drew Spencer will have his a big hill to climb during Pool C of the World Baseball Classic. Great Britain was the first team to get in the field for the WBC through the qualifier in Regensburg, Germany in last September, beating Spain to earn their first-ever appearance in the World Baseball Classic.
Great Britain will face off against United States at Chase Field in Phoenix on March 11 at 9 p.m. EST. Pool C will be held from March 11-15 and will feature Colombia, Mexico, and Canada in the first round in Phoenix for the World Baseball Classic.