I haven’t seen an award decision that had such uniformity of negative opinion about it since Jethro Tull beat Metallica for Best Heavy Metal Performance Grammy in 1988. Or maybe it was Taste of Honey beating Elvis Costello for Best New Artist in 1978. To be honest, we should probably rename the Gold Glove the Fielding Grammy Award:
- Moshe Mandel, TYU: “Jeter’s selection, on the other hand, is a travesty. He was likely one of the 2 or 3 worst shortstops in the AL this season. The metrics, scouts, and most fans agree that he is mediocre at best, and atrocious at worst. He won because of his reputation as a hitter, which is incredibly silly but quite unsurprising. As a Yankee fan, I wish we could just forget it ever happened.”
- David Brown, Big League Stew: “The worst shortstop in the league won a Gold Glove at the most important defensive position on the field. How does this happen?”
- Rob Neyer: “Nobody who really follows baseball believes that Jeter is an outstanding defensive player. The Yankees, who see him every day, don’t believe that. The writers who cover the Yankees every day don’t believe that. Frankly, I’m not sure the managers and the coaches who actually voted for Jeter believe that.”
- Matthew Leach, MLB.com: “Gold Gloves are like Supreme Court appointments: They’re hard to get, but once you have them, they’re for life.”
- John Harper, New York Daily News: “If you watched the ALCS even casually it wasn’t hard to see that Derek Jeter looked closer to 46 than 36 compared to Elvis Andrus as a shortstop . . . it’s obvious he didn’t deserve the Gold Glove he was awarded Tuesday.” [note: if even the tabloids aren’t drinking the Jeter Kool Aid anymore, no one is].
- Grant at McCovey Chronicles: “The Gold Gloves are ridiculous. They’re the subjective opinions of people who would rather use astrology charts than defensive stats to judge players they watched for seven to 18 games this year.” [note: that doesn’t stop Grant from wishing hard for Andres Torres to win the GG today. Such is the nature of this maddening but never-to-be-gone award. I think it’s because the name is so great].
Me? I’m still reeling. Say what you want about the BBWAA, but at least the guys who vote on those awards usually defend their choices and have some arguably rational basis for them. The players and coaches who gave Jeter his fifth — fifth! — Gold Glove won’t and can’t do the same. They don’t watch Jeter play every day because they’re busy with their own games. The people who do watch him play every day — Yankees beat writers and fans — almost all agree that he didn’t deserve the award.
Just remember that the next time an ex-ballplayer or manager gets a job as a cable network talking head based on his alleged expertise.
Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.
Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.
As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.
This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.