Manny Machado

Projecting the 2013 Gold Glove winners

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Let’s go down the list:

AL, catcher: Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, Salvador Perez

Mauer is still the AL’s best defensive catcher, but he played a mere 660 innings behind the plate this year, compared to 1,200 for Wieters and 1,115 for Perez. Wieters has won the last two, so he’s the favorite here. Still, I think Perez gets the nod.

AL, first base: Chris Davis, James Loney, Eric Hosmer

Even is his league-leading UZR oversells it a bit, Mike Napoli deserved a nomination over Davis or Hosmer. Loney will claim this one, and it probably won’t be particularly close. Weak field.

AL, second base: Robinson Cano, Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia

Both Pedroia and Cano have two Gold Gloves to their credit. The tie will be broken this year, and I imagine Pedroia will be the choice.

AL, third base: Manny Machado, Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre

This is easily the AL’s strongest position. Josh Donaldson was probably the best defender at any position not to get a nomination, and Matt Dominguez is no slouch in Houston. It will be interesting to see if the voters make the right choice with Machado. I think they will, but Beltre was the Platinum Glove choice the previous two years, marking him as the league’s overall best defender.

AL, shortstop: Yunel Escobar, Alcides Escobar, J.J. Hardy

Alcides Escobar’s defensive numbers finally match his rep this year, and he’s probably the best choice. Still, it’s hardly a slam dunk. My guess is that Hardy gets his second Gold Glove in a row.

AL, left field: Yoenis Cespedes, Andy Dirks, Alex Gordon

Gordon has won both years since the Gold Gloves separated out the outfield positions (though Brett Gardner deserved it in 2011). He’s the likely choice again, and I don’t see any better options. He played 500 more innings in left than either of the other nominees here.

AL, center field: Adam Jones, Lorenzo Cain, Jacoby Ellsbury

The numbers say Cain, but he played just 760 innings in center and he was shifted to right when both he and Jarrod Dyson were in the lineup at the same time. That makes him kind of a tough sell. Jones is a terribly weak nomination; Mike Trout, Gardner, Colby Rasmus, Michael Bourn, Coco Crisp and Austin Jackson are all better defenders. I guess Ellsbury is the choice of this trio, but really, Cain is the best of the bunch.

AL, right field: Nick Markakis, Josh Reddick, Shane Victorino

Markakis too? Did the Orioles grease some palms? Anyway, Victorino is the most obvious winner at any AL position.

AL, pitcher: Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Doug Fister

Buehrle has won four Gold Gloves in a row, including last year in the National League. Still, Fister deserves to win this award and I think he’ll get it.

NL, catcher: A.J. Ellis, Russell Martin, Yadier Molina

Martin was the last catcher to beat out Molina, doing so in 2007. It’s a given that Molina will keep the crown for a sixth straight year, and he deserves it, but Martin was really good, too.

NL, first base: Paul Goldschmidt, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo

The last two NL Gold Glove winners (Joey Votto in 2011, Adam LaRoche in 2012) weren’t even nominated. Gonzalez has the rep and will claim the award. Rizzo’s turn could come next year.

NL, second base: Darwin Barney, Mark Ellis, Brandon Phillips

Phillips won two in a row before Barney overtook him last year. The difference between 2012 and 2013 was that Barney was competent offensively last year. Since he wasn’t this year, the award is more likely to go back to Phillips.

NL, third base: Nolan Arenado, Juan Uribe, David Wright

How about a trade? The AL gets both Gold Glove third basemen and the NL gets both for center field. Uribe and Arenado both actually had pretty exceptional numbers. Personally I buy Uribe’s a bit more. Still, my guess is that Wright wins on name recognition. After all, Uribe and Arenado could split the analytical component of the vote.

NL, shortstop: Ian Desmond, Andrelton Simmons, Troy Tulowitzki

Andrelton.

NL, left field: Carlos Gonzalez, Starling Marte, Eric Young Jr.

Gonzalez’s arm would have earned him the award if he had been able to play in the second half. Marte, though, was the better choice regardless, and since he did play an extra couple of hundred innings, I think he’ll be the pick.

NL, center field: Carlos Gomez, Andrew McCutchen, Denard Span

McCutchen can have the MVP, but Gomez is far more deserving of the Gold Glove. Of course, that was true last year, too, and McCutchen was still the choice. I’m not sure the analytics component of the vote will sway that. I’m guessing McCutchen.

Also, Juan Lagares deserved a nomination here. He played more innings in center than Young did in left or Jason Heyward did in right.

NL, right field: Jay Bruce, Jason Heyward, Gerardo Parra

Heyward won last year, but he was limited to 104 games this year and started just 76 in right field. He is great, but so is Parra and Parra was out there for an extra 350 innings. Still, I imagine Heyward will be the selection.

NL, pitcher: Patrick Corbin, Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright

No Mike Leake? Anyway, Wainwright was the only pitcher in either league to be involved in six double plays, and he didn’t commit a single error. Botched World Series popup not withstanding, he should be the pick. Greinke can settle for the Silver Slugger.

Michael Brantley’s timetable off shoulder surgery is “hazy”

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Paul Hoynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer has an in-depth look at how the Indians will manage their outfield during the early part of the 2016 season, in the absence of star Michael Brantley.

Brantley underwent labrum surgery on his right shoulder this past November and has not picked up a bat all winter. “In the off-season people know I love to hit,” Brantley acknowledged to Hoynes late last week. ”I hit a lot. It’s just been a change in my timetable.”

Hoynes says the projected date for Brantley’s 2016 debut is “hazy,” guessing that it might happen around late April or early May if everything continues to go smoothly. Shoulders can be tricky, for hitters and pitchers.

Rajai Davis, Abraham Almonte, and Lonnie Chisenhall figure to make up Cleveland’s primary starting outfield while Brantley is finishing his rehabilitation. Collin Cowgill and Joey Butler could also be in the mix. It’s a lacking group, tasked with replacing one of the most productive players in baseball.

Brantley, 28, has slashed .319/.382/.494 over the last two seasons, tallying 35 home runs, 90 doubles, 181 RBI, and 38 stolen bases in 293 games.

Could the talented Tribe be in for another slow start?

Shouldn’t this club be spending more money?

Jose Bautista had a courtside view of Saturday night’s epic NBA Slam Dunk Contest

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Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic put on a tremendous show in Saturday night’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest up in Toronto, Canada. The stars were out to see it at the Air Canada Centre, and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista had one of the very best views in the house. Check out this video he posted to Instagram of LaVine’s final dunk, a between-the-legs jam from just inside the free throw line …

Its a wrap!!! #BackToBack #SlamDunk #Champion @zachlavine8 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

A video posted by Jose Bautista (@joeybats19) on

That is Toronto’s very own Drake going wild in the pink jacket. Gordon probably had the best individual dunk of the night, though, if we’re being really real …

Back to your regularly scheduled baseball programming. Pitchers and catchers report Friday.

Cubs expected to host an All-Star Game in the near future

A general view of Wrigley Field and the newly renovated bleachers during the second inning of a baseball game between the the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds Thursday, June 11, 2015,  in Chicago. Chicago won 6-3. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
AP Photo/Paul Beaty
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The 2016-18 All-Star Games are spoken for, but the Cubs could play host not long thereafter according to commissioner Rob Manfred, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports.

The Padres are hosting at Petco Park this year, the Marlins will host at Marlins Park next season, and the Nationals will host in 2018 at Nationals Park. That will make four consecutive National League hosts and five if the Cubs get it in 2019. In the past, the National and American Leagues have alternated hosting privileges. That is sort of important now since the league that wins the All-Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series.

The Cubs last hosted the All-Star Game in 1990 and have hosted a total of three times (1962 and 1947 being the other years) since its inception in 1933.

Wrigley Field has been undergoing renovations which are expected to be completed by the 2019 season. Manfred said that the Cubs hosting the All-Star Game “will provide the Cubs and Ricketts family a chance to showcase the unbelievable renovation they are in the midst of doing for Wrigley field.”

Update: Here’s a table showing the last time each team hosted the All-Star Game.

Team Park Last Hosted Yrs Since Notes
Dodgers Dodger Stadum 1980 35
Nationals Olympic Stadium (Expos) 1982 33 2018 host
Athletics Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 1987 28
Cubs Wrigley Field 1990 25
Blue Jays SkyDome 1991 24
Padres Jack Murphy Stadium 1992 23 2016 host
Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards 1993 22
Rangers The Ballpark in Arlington 1995 20
Phillies Veterans Stadium 1996 19
Indians Jacobs Field 1997 18
Rockies Coors Field 1998 17
Red Sox Fenway Park 1999 16
Braves Turner Field 2000 15
Mariners Safeco Field 2001 14
Brewers Miller Park 2002 13
White Sox U.S. Cellular Field 2003 12
Astros Minute Maid Park 2004 11
Tigers Comerica Park 2005 10
Pirates PNC Park 2006 9
Giants AT&T Park 2007 8
Yankees Yankee Stadium 2008 7
Cardinals Busch Stadium 2009 6
Angels Angels Stadium of Anaheim 2010 5
D’Backs Chase Field 2011 4
Royals Kauffman Stadium 2012 3
Mets Citi Field 2013 2
Twins Target Field 2014 1
Reds Great American Ball Park 2015 0
Marlins Never Hosted 2017 host
Rays Never Hosted

Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren will compete for No. 5 spot in Cubs’ rotation

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws during the first inning of Game 3 of the National League baseball championship series against the New York Mets Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Expect Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation this spring, writes Gordon Wittenmyer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Clayton Richard could serve as a fallback option as well.

Hendricks, 26, pitched well in his first full season in 2015. He finished with a 3.95 ERA and a 167/43 K/BB ratio over 180 innings. That was a solid follow-up to his rookie campaign in 2014, when he posted a 2.46 ERA over 13 starts.

The Cubs acquired Warren, 28, from the Yankees in the Starlin Castro trade. He contributed both out of the rotation and the bullpen in the Bronx this past season, pitching 131 1/3 innings with a 3.29 ERA and a 104/39 K/BB ratio.

One through four, the Cubs’ rotation is solid with defending National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jason Hammel.