Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, And Felix Hernandez Named Gold Glove Finalists


Awards season is under way in Major League Baseball, with the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Awards having already been given out to Casey McGehee and the Seattle Mariners’ very own Chris Young. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course, as more high-profile awards like the MVP and Cy Young are coming down the pipe. But before we get to those, there are Gold Gloves to be handed out.

The Rawlings Gold Glove Awards have undergone some pretty significant changes in recent years, as they are now determined by a weighted system: the votes of managers and coaches are weighed 75%, while the other 25% of the vote is done based off of “statistical data.” The other big change is that Rawlings announces three “finalists” leading up to the awards being revealed. Which is why we’re talking about the Gold Gloves while the World Series is still being played.

On November 11th, Gold Glove winners will be revealed. Presumably, the identity of the winners is already known by those associated with the awards, but that information is not public just yet. Until then we have finalists, from which we can “guess” or “predict” the eventual winner. And of those finalists we have three Mariners.

The M’s have final threes at second base, third base, and the mound this year. The team’s three gold glove nominees are also their three all-stars, as Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, and Felix Hernandez are up for the Rawlings award after having played in the Midsummer Classic. Which is funny, given that the Gold Gloves are trying to change an old, accurate perception that they’re given to star players and not necessarily star defenders.

Indeed, looking at the finalists we see some guys who aren’t really known for their glovework. Miguel Cabrera? Albert Pujols? Michael Brantley? Felix? Huh? I personally have never once harbored even a single thought pertaining to Felix’s glovework, yet here he is, up for the award. But most importantly, perhaps, is that the list is noticeably less egregious than usual, as there aren’t really any huge ommissions other than Lorenzo Cain and odds are that AL first base award will go to Eric Hosmer, thus bypassing the embarrassment of Cabrera and Pujols being here in the first place.

The pitcher Gold Gloves are always the most interesting to me, since who thinks about pitcher’s defense? Mark Buehrle usually wins this one, and odds are he’ll beat out Felix and Dallas Keuchel this year, too. Buehrle is the rare pitcher with a legitimate defensive reuptation, and he’ll always have that highlight reel between-the-legs blindside glove flip throw from years ago. So he’s gonna win that, probably, since why wouldn’t he? Again, nobody really thinks about pitcher’s defense, except maybe these Rawlings guys.

Cano is up against Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia for the award. Or, rather, Cano finished in one of the top three spots for this award, as did Kinsler and Pedroia. Kinsler’s never won the award, but Cano has, twice, and Pedroia has, thrice. Pedroia and Kinsler were the far-and-away leaders in the AL this year according to advanced defensive metrics, with Cano hanging around league average. He sure seemed better than that to the eye, but Pedroia seems like the easy pick here. Which, of course, guarantees him nothing, though it’s worth noting that this award at least seems like Pedroia’s to lose.

Things get really interesting at third base, where Adrian Beltre and Josh Donaldson join Seager as the top three. Beltre’s one of the best defensive third basemen of all time and probably has a Hall of Fame plaque in his future, in no small part due to his insane glovework. But Donaldson led the league in most major defensive stats this year, with Seager’s breakout defensive campaign placing him second across the board. This is a three-headed monster of a race, and one that’s almost impossible to handicap. Beltre missed time and had an off year in the field, which means he was merely awesome instead of supernatural. Flip a coin between Donaldson and Seager, though Oakland’s 88 wins to Seattle’s 87 might somehow, for some reason, make a difference.

Three Mariners might win Gold Glove awards this year, though that number could also be two, or one, or zero. No Mariner has won one since Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez each took one home in 2010, but that streak might end on November 11th. Or, I mean, we might hear about that streak ending on November 11th, though the award’s winners have already been determined. Until then we’ll be left guessing. The Gold Gloves! So weird!