The 2023 World Baseball Classic concludes Tuesday night with the championship game between Team USA and Japan. USA blew out Cuba to secure a spot in the final while Japan put together a thrilling come from behind walk-off win against Mexico. Japan is looking to join the 2013 Dominican Republic as the only teams to go undefeated in a single WBC.
Even with a quiet few games lately, Team USA captain Mike Trout has had a fantastic WBC, going 7 for 22 (.318) with a double, a triple, and a homer in six games. He's also made several standout defensive plays in center field. And, when the WBC is held next in 2026, Trout will be there. He's already informed the brain trust he wants to part of the 2026 USA squad.
"I already told them I am doing the next one. I am already in. If I'm DHing, playing left field, whatever they want, I'm in," Trout said during a Fox Sports segment Tuesday.
"I already told them I am doing the next one. I am already in... Whatever they want, I'm in."@MikeTrout verbally commits to playing in the 2026 WBC 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/jOVbGMlz46— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 21, 2023
Now 31, Trout will be 34 when the 2026 WBC rolls around, and yeah, it's reasonable to assume he will no longer be a center fielder then. Center field is a young player's position and very few players in their mid-30s play there capably. Even the best center fielders move to left field later in their careers. It is the natural order of things.
Age 34 is not too old to be an extremely productive player though -- Trout's USA teammate Paul Goldschmidt just won an MVP in his age 34 season -- and the smart money is on Trout still being a middle of the order force when the 2026 WBC rolls around. He wants in and there's no doubt Team USA leadership will find a way to get him on the roster.