Former All-Stars David Robertson and Todd Frazier are planning to head to the U.S. Olympic Team’s training camp in Port St. Lucie, per a pair of reports from MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and the New York Post’s Joel Sherman (Twitter links). Sherman adds that righty Brad Brach is on Team USA’s provisional roster as well, though he’s pitching with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate at the moment, so a call to the Majors would take priority. Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that Homer Bailey and Edwin Jackson are both expected to pitch for the club. Team USA, set to be managed by longtime Halos skipper Mike Scioscia, will play in a qualifier beginning May 31.
Robertson, now 36, signed a two-year, $23MM contract with the Phillies prior to the 2019 season. He’d been the game’s most durable reliever prior to that contract, averaging 65 appearances and 65 innings per year over the preceding nine seasons. Unfortunately, that run came to an end with a pair of injury marred seasons in Philadelphia that culminated in the aforementioned Tommy John procedure. Robertson tossed just 6 2/3 innings in his two years with the Phillies. He’s still hoping for a big league return at some point, per Feinsand.
Frazier recently elected free agency after being designated for assignment by the Pirates. He put together a nice Spring Training with the Bucs, hitting .250/.353/.643 with three homers in 34 plate appearances. Upon being added to the big league roster and joining the club in the regular season, however, Frazier fell into a 3-for-35 slump before being designated and clearing waivers. He’ll look to get back on track in this latest venture, which could conceivably serve as a showcase opportunity or ultimately lead to a spot on the Olympic roster.
Neither Bailey nor Jackson signed with a big league club over the winter. Bailey spent the 2020 season with the Twins but was injured for much of the season. He enjoyed a respectable season between the Royals and A’s in 2019, however, tossing 163 1/3 innings of 4.57 ERA ball with a 21.4 percent strikeout rate and a 7.6 walk rate. Jackson hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since allowing more runs than innings pitched between the Blue Jays and Tigers in 2019, though he had a nice 2018 campaign in Oakland (92 innings, 3.33 ERA).
Notably, Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times reported this week that Team USA also reached out to Ryan Braun about a possible match. Braun, who has also received interest from Team Israel, tells Shaikin that suiting back up for any team “doesn’t make sense for me,” adding that he “couldn’t imagine being happier or enjoying life more” than he is right now while spending time with his family. Braun said back in March that he’s “strongly leaning” toward retirement, and while he tells Shaikin he’s leaving the door cracked in case he finds himself missing the game in the future, it doesn’t sound as though Braun has any interest in returning to the game right now.
Team USA has yet to formally announce its roster or a list of players who’ll train at their camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla., but Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser reported late last month that players on 40-man rosters would not be eligible for the team. The qualifier tournament runs May 31-June 5 and features the United States, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.