We already went over the American League Gold Glove winners, so now it’s the National League’s turn.
Again, things were a little different this year. In addition to three finalists at each defensive position, we also had one winner from each outfield position for the first time.
Courtesy of the Associated Press, here are your 2011 NL Gold Glove winners:
C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals (fourth Gold Glove)
1B – Joey Votto, Reds (first Gold Glove)
2B – Brandon Phillips, Reds (third Gold Glove)
SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (second Gold Glove)
3B – Placido Polanco, Phillies (third Gold Glove)
LF – Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks (first Gold Glove)
CF – Matt Kemp, Dodgers (second Gold Glove)
RF – Andre Ethier, Dodgers (first Gold Glove)
P – Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (first Gold Glove)
Kemp, Ethier and Kershaw are the first trio of Dodgers to win the award in the same season. Kemp previously won the Gold Glove in 2009 while Ethier and Kershaw are both first-time winners. Again, I’m not going to waste too much time railing against the voting process, but Ethier sticks out like a sore thumb on this list. Justin Upton, who was announced as a Fielding Bible award winner on Monday, wasn’t even one of the finalists for right field. Oh well.
On the bright side, there aren’t too many other complaints here. Yadier Molina was a no-brainer behind the plate, becoming the first NL catcher to win the Gold Glove in four consecutive seasons since Charles Johnson from 1995-1998. While not a household name, Arizona’s Gerardo Parra was a tremendous pick for left field. Kudos for getting that one right. Polanco was pretty much a lock to win at a watered-down third base position, despite appearing in just 122 games this season. He joins Darin Erstad as the only players to win Gold Gloves at two positions.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.