Gold Glove Finalists Announced
Awards season doesn’t come until after the postseason is completed, but we already know that the Red Sox won’t be taking home any of the American League Gold Gloves. On Thursday afternoon, Rawlings (who sponsors the Gold Gloves) named the finalists for all 18 races between the two leagues. I’m not going to list them all out in this space, but you can check out all of them here. There are three at each position for each league. I think the most notable thing about the finalists was the fact that there are two White Sox catchers on the list.
That’s a nice segue to what we care more about, which is that the Red Sox didn’t have a single finalist. In my mind before the announcements came out, they had a chance for three finalists in Alex Verdugo, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vázquez. Verdugo was more of a longshot than I had originally considered. He had a nearly even split between left and right field, and honestly I had forgotten how much left field he played, particulary early in the year. So, his omission was understandable.
The other two are less so. Bradley’s omission will always annoy me (and him), but there are a lot of great defensive outfielders. However, another one of them in Kevin Kiermaier was also left off the list, so I’m not exactly sure what we’re doing here. Vázquez, meanwhile, seems perpetually underrated as a defensive catcher. By FanGraphs’s rating, he was the best catcher in baseball this past year with respect to framing. Not getting a nomination, while the White Sox got two, is wild.
I know awards, and Gold Gloves in particular, don’t matter to a lot of people, and that’s fair. However, players do often get bonuses based on this stuff, so it’s not nothing. There are two pet peeves I have with this whole process. One is that these aren’t finalists. File this under “who cares Matt” but words mean something! These are just the top three in the rankings. Finalist implies there’s more voting coming, but there is not.
The other pet peeve is that they changed methodology this year. In the past, this award has been given out based on a combination of metrics and human voting. This year, due to the small sample of the season, it was left entirely to metrics. Leaning more on defensive metrics in a smaller sample seems crazy to me. Granted, I’m not sure human voting would be much better, but just the idea of leaning more on metrics in a smaller sample is making me scratch my head.
Josh Harrison re-signs with Nationals
We have our first new contract of the winter, with Josh Harrison signing a one-year deal worth $1 million with the Nationals. The utility man is heading back to Washington after performing relatively well in a part-time role. He only played in 33 games with 91 plate appearances, but in them he hit .278/.352/.418 for a slightly above-average 105 OPS+.
As far as the Red Sox go, Harrison could have been a tentative target, I suppose, given his ability to play second base. I suspect in an ideal world they’ll want to add talent at that position, though I’m not sure it will be a priority. Missing out on Harrison won’t be the end of the world, of course, though. He’s a nice utility player, but he’s best when he can fill in a little bit everywhere, and Boston already has that in Yairo Muñoz.