Goldberg caps strong '16 with Team Israel run

Reliever saves two in WBC Qualifiers after posting 2.70 ERA in Minors

Goldberg caps strong '16 with Team Israel run

CHICAGO -- Brad Goldberg never has been to Seoul, South Korea.

The right-handed hurler in the White Sox system still might not make that trip when Team Israel travels there as part of the 2017 World Baseball Classic Pool B action from March 7-10, 2017. But even if Goldberg somehow misses out on the next round, his two saves in the Brooklyn Qualifier helped Israel achieve this baseball dream.

"It was a lot of the same sentiment with everyone: They wanted to win for the people really invested in it," said Goldberg during a recent phone interview from his Ohio home. "We had a couple of natives on the team and they were so excited, and my highlight of the week was seeing them celebrate after.

"They were thanking us all the time: Thank you for coming to play and for your contributions. It was the other way. I was happy to do it for them and see how happy they were and how much it meant to them."

Goldberg, 26, ended a successful 2016 campaign and began an eventful offseason by saving victories against Great Britain and Brazil. Israel cruised past Great Britain in the Qualifier championship, bringing joy to players such as Dean Kremer and Shlomo Lipetz, who were the native Israelies Goldberg mentioned.

Israel wins it with strikeout

Goldberg's two-game performance in the WBC Qualifiers followed a 2.70 ERA posted over 47 games between Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham, with 10 saves and 51 strikeouts over 56 2/3 innings. The 10th-round selection from the 2013 MLB Draft will move on to pitching for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League, beginning on Oct. 12, and could put his name in contention for a '17 White Sox bullpen spot.

That Major League opportunity could take precedence over international competition excitement.

"I still have to talk to the White Sox. There's still stuff going on this offseason. It's my Rule 5 year. There's still a busy offseason in my individual case," Goldberg said. "So, it's still so fresh, I haven't even thought about it. But if they ask me to go, and the stars align, I would definitely be more than open to going and contributing. It was a great experience.

"Those teams are very good and this could be an experience of a lifetime. So, I'm definitely open to it and willing to do it, but obviously there are some higher powers that need to let me know if I can or depending on if I can make the team. There's a lot of variables there."

The White Sox and Goldberg shared a healthy relationship this season, with Goldberg trusting in the organization and the team giving him a little bit of freedom leading to an overall positive year. It concluded with his working in a special Classic victory.

"I've never been in an international competition before, but I kind of went in pretty open-minded and it exceeded any expectations I had," Goldberg said. "There's a lot of pride and everyone was in there for the right reason.

"Everyone just wanted to win. A great mesh with all the guys in a quick period of time. It was just a lot of fun. I'm glad we got the win and qualified."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.