Bizarre insurance clause will keep Sonny Gray out of the World Baseball Classic

Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray hasn’t had much luck lately. In 2016, he posted new full-season worsts in starts (22), ERA+ (70), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.24). If 2017 is destined to go better for Gray, then consider this an ominous sign: he will not be permitted to pitch for the United States’ World Baseball Classic team.

The reason? Gray was denied insurance coverage for the event, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle

Gray was on the DL at the end of August, he was on the DL for more than 60 days last year and he didn’t play in more than 10 innings after coming off the DL at the end of the season.

“It’s not up to us or MLB, it’s up to the insurance company,” Forst said. “MLB pushed the issue and asked the insurance carrier to let him pitch, and they didn’t do it. ... He feels great, he’s throwing.”

While the ruling stinks for Gray, who knows, maybe this will turn out to be a good thing. As Slusser notes, Gray will now face a lighter spring schedule -- his exhibition-season debut has been pushed back a few days -- which could, in turn, help him author a resurgent season. 

Of course, in all likelihood, pitching in the WBC wouldn’t have impacted Gray one way or the other. Still, you can’t blame him if he’ll try to find a positive in this mess. He’s human, just like the rest of us, and when we don’t get something we want, we tend to rationalize why we didn’t actually want it that much in the first place.

The 2017 WBC will begin play on March 6. Team USA’s first game is scheduled for March 10. 

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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