2017 could be the final World Baseball Classic

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The World Baseball Classic will dominate baseball news in March, but it could be the last time it does so. At least if it doesn’t make a lot of money, reports Christian Moreno of ESPN.

The WBC, sponsored by the World Baseball Softball Confederation and supported by Major League Baseball and various professional baseball leagues around the world, was founded in 2005 and held its first tournament in 2006. Its impetus for creation was the removal of baseball as an Olympic sport for the 2012 games and, presumably, to continue on the tradition of Olympic-style international competition. That tradition, however, does not pay the bills on its own and does not bring forth the sorts of stakeholders the Olympics bring to underwrite a money-losing operation.

The 2017 tournament begins on March 6 in Seoul, Tokyo, Miami and Jalisco, Mexico, plays a semifinal in Tokyo and San Diego and then moves on to a final on March 22nd in Los Angeles.

If you’re a fan of the WBC, you’re going to want to hope that a lot of people buy some tickets or some gear to keep it going. If they don’t, and if this report is correct, any tickets or gear you buy may become far more historically significant souvenirs than you think.

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

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SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.