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2017 Gold Glove Award finalists announced

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Major League Baseball has announced the finalists for each position in each league for the 2017 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. Here they are:

Pitchers

Catchers

First basemen

Second basemen

Third basemen

Shortstops

Left fielders

Center fielders

Right fielders

The first thing that stands out to me is Zobrist as a finalist for second base. He played there more than any other position, sure, but he only logged 541 2/3 defensive innings there total this season. Comparatively, Gordon logged 1,293 1/3 innings and LeMahieu 1,302. Of course, this reminds me of when Rafael Palmeiro won a Gold Glove at first base in 1999 when he played 128 games as a DH and only 28 games (246 1/3 innings) as a first baseman.

If you’re wondering why Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier wasn’t listed, it’s because he wasn’t eligible, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay times points out. Kiermaier played in 98 games and accrued 829 2/3 defensive innings. To be eligible, an outfielder must have played for at least 698 innings through his team’s 138th game. Kiermaier missed time between June 9 and August 17, his team’s 63-123 games.

It was surprising to see Jose Iglesias omitted from shortstops on the American League side. I don’t think he would’ve won over Simmons, but he’s more deserving of a top-three mention than Andrus in my opinion.

As a Phillies fan, I was happy to see Galvis get a nod, though Baseball Reference’s defensive metrics weren’t kind to him. It’s been a treat to watch him 162 games a year. He most likely opens next season up in a different uniform. Some day, though, he’ll win a Gold Glove, even if it’s not this year.

Gold Glove winners will be announced on ESPN on November 7. The Rawlings Platinum Glove Award will be presented on November 10.

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.