One of the hallmarks of the early offseason is the slew of awards that are handed out, and Hardware SZN began on Sunday with the Gold Gloves being handed out. The Red Sox had four finalists on their roster, with their entire outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts getting a nod along with catcher Christian Vázquez. Neither Benintendi nor Vázquez have ever won the award while Bradley won his first last year and Betts is going for his fourth straight.
We’ll start with the obvious one, with Betts indeed winning that fourth straight. There was not much suspense here, for as good as Kole Calhoun and Josh Reddick are, no one is close to Betts. He is certainly the best right fielder in all of baseball and one of the best outfielders in the game despite being in a corner for the majority of his career. Pay that man his money.
Betts also has a chance at winning the Platinum Glove, which goes to the best defensive player regardless of position in the American League. That will be handed out on November 8.
As for the other outfielders, they were not given the award. In left field, Alex Gordon of the Royals took home his seventh Gold Glove of his career. Benintendi not winning was not a surprise. In center field, it was Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier getting the award. This will certainly get Red Sox fans upset, and I get it. Bradley is positively absurd and it’s kind if hard to imagine anyone being better. I’m not sure there is, but at the very least Kiemaier is an equal. I don’t think you can really go wrong choosing between the two.
Behind the plate, Christian Vázquez will also have to wait at least one more year for his first Gold Glove. He had a great year defensively that was almost overshadowed by the strides he made at the plate, but between his framing and his cannon of an arm the impact behind the plate is undeniable. Roberto Pérez of the Indians was the winner in the American League.