Major leaguers Ty Kelly and Sam Fuld have committed to Team Israel for next year’s World Baseball Classic, the Israel Association of Baseball announced this week.
Team Israel stated that it is finalizing its roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic in March in South Korea. Israel will play against the host country, the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei.
Utility fielder Kelly batted .241 in 39 games for the New York Mets last season. Outfielder Fuld, a free agent, made 120 appearances with the Oakland Athletics in 2015.
“We’re rounding out the roster with additional major leaguers who weren’t available to play on Team Israel in the qualifiers, and with up-and-coming talented players,” says Team Israel general manager Peter Kurz. “They will join a core group that performed with determination in the qualifiers against Brazil and Great Britain in Brooklyn in September last year, to secure our place in the tournament.”
Other major league players who have committed to the team include pitcher Jason Marquis, formerly of the Cincinnati Reds; first baseman Ike Davis, formerly of the N.Y. Mets and Yankees; catcher Ryan Lavarnway; Cody Decker; Josh Zeid, who pitched the team to victory in Brooklyn last fall; and Nate Freiman. The roster will also include some Jewish minor leaguers, such as Tyler Krieger, Nick Rickles, Dean Kramer, Corey Baker, Jeremy Bleich, Jake Kalish, Alex Katz, Blake Gailen, RC Orlan, Joey Wagman, Scott Burcham and Gabe Cramer.
For some of these players – Zeid, Freiman, Rickles, Davis and Decker – this will be their third appearance with Team Israel. They were all part of the team that narrowly missed qualifying for the 2013 WBC, and all played in the qualifiers in September.
WBC rules state that players eligible for citizenship of a country may play on that country’s team. This will be the first time that American Jewish baseball players will represent Israel in a world championship.