Jacoby Ellsbury

Trio of Red Sox win American League Gold Gloves

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Rawlings unveiled the 2011 Gold Glove award winners this evening, but things didn’t go exactly as planned. The new award show was going to be televised on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. ET, but it was pushed back for about 45 minutes due to a high-scoring college football game between Northern Illinois University and Toledo. Once the show finally got underway, the full list of award winners leaked via the Associated Press and I’m going to assume whoever was watching probably turned the channel to a Seinfeld re-run or something. Nice try, Rawlings. Better luck next year?

Anyway, we’ll start with the American League winners and do a separate post for the National League. Keep in mind that we have one winner for each outfield position for the very first time:

C – Matt Wieters, Orioles (first Gold Glove)
1B – Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox (third Gold Glove)
2B – Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (second Gold Glove)
SS – Erick Aybar, Angels (first Gold Glove)
3B – Adrian Beltre, Rangers (third Gold Glove)
LF – Alex Gordon, Royals (first Gold Glove)
CF – Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox (first Gold Glove)
RF – Nick Markakis, Orioles (first Gold Glove)
P – Mark Buehrle, White Sox (third Gold Glove)

Ellsbury, Pedroia and Gonzalez give the Red Sox three winners in the same season for the first time since Dwight Evans, Fred Lynn and Rick Burleson won at their respective positions back in 1979.

I refuse to get worked up over the voting, because really, it’s pointless, but Alex Gordon topping Brett Gardner in left field is probably the biggest surprise of the bunch. Gordon led American League outfielders with 20 assists in 2011, his first season as a full-time outfielder, but Gardner is about as good as you can get in left field and would make a great center fielder if Curtis Granderson wasn’t around. Here’s your biggest head scratcher of the evening.

I would have preferred J.J. Hardy over Erick Aybar at shortstop, but it’s nice to see his teammate Matt Wieters get recognized for his excellent contributions behind the plate. The 25-year-old threw out 37 percent of baserunners this season, topped only by Miguel Montero among qualified MLB catchers. While it hasn’t happened as quickly as some expected, Wieters is well on his way to emerging as one of the better all-around players in the American League.

* The original post gave the impression that MLB unveils the Gold Glove award winners. For accuracy’s sake, I wanted to make it clear that this is Rawlings’ show. 

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.