Aroldis Chapman, the former New York Yankees closer who agreed to join the Kansas City Royals last week, may be joining another group of Royals in March.
Chapman is listed as one of the 50 players on Great Britain’s preliminary roster for the 2023 World Baseball Classic. While Chapman is a native of Holguin, Cuba, his paternal grandparents and father emigrated from Jamaica while it was still a British colony.
Under WBC guidelines, this makes the seven-time All-Star eligible to play for Great Britain. The British advanced from the preliminary rounds and will compete in the 16-team tournament for the first time this March.
This isn’t the first time that a player’s inclusion in a certain national team has raised eyebrows. Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza was born in Pennsylvania, but played for Italy in the inaugural WBC in 2006. However, Aroldis Chapman’s leap from the island of Cuba to the British Isles is garnering more than his share of humorous notice.
A number of American fans are wondering if they might also qualify to play for a British team that is almost entirely bereft of household names. Only seven members of Great Britain’s preliminary-round roster were born in Great Britain.
Of course, it wasn’t lost on MLB fans that Chapman just joined the royals in Kansas City by agreeing to a one-year contract with the team on January 19th. With Chapman now being named to Great Britain’s roster, does he consider himself royalty?
Most MLB analysts do not expect Chapman to pitch for Great Britain in the WBC, scheduled to be held March 8th-21st. However, considering Chapman’s fall from grace in going from being the Yanks closer for the majority of the seasons from 2016-2021 to being left off the team’s playoff roster in 2022, the British may not want to count on him closing out Team USA.
Aroldis Chapman’s best days are likely past him