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. 

Scott Boras: Conflict of interest for agent to become GM

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Earlier, Craig wrote about the latest in the Mets’ search for a new general manager. Their list has been pared down to three candidates: Chaim Bloom (Rays senior VP of baseball operations), Doug Melvin (Brewers senior advisor), and agent Brodie Van Wagenen (of Creative Artists Agency).

It’s a diverse list, for sure, which makes one wonder what process allowed them to arrive at these final three candidates. Bloom is new school, Melvin is older-school, and Van Wagenen is… just inexperienced. Van Wagenen in particular is an interesting candidate as he has spent years advocating on his clients’ behalf. As a GM, he would do the exact opposite: he would try to take advantage of his players whenever possible, like every other GM in baseball does (e.g. manipulating service time).

Per Mike Puma of the New York Post, agent Scott Boras thinks there would be a conflict of interest if an agent were to become a GM. Boras, in fact, says he has turned down opportunities to lead front offices. But there is no verbiage saying that an agent must divest himself of his business interests before taking a job in a front office. Dave Stewart and Jeff Moorad are two examples of agents who later went onto the ownership side of the business. Stewart, in fact, moved into the front office after retiring and held various roles in with various organizations until he started Sports Management Partners (renamed Stewart Management Partners). He transferred control of the agency to Dave Henderson before he joined the Diamondbacks’ front office near the end of the 2014 season.

Ownership and labor are in constant conflict, even when things seem peaceful. Ownership wants to extract as much labor as possible as cheaply as possible. Labor wants to be paid for their work as much as possible. Their goals contradict each other and yet they need each other. While not required, usually being deeply on one side or the other — as agents and GM’s are — speaks to one’s personal ethos about the eternal tug-of-war. That Van Wagenen is so eager to switch sides speaks, perhaps, to opportunism. I would be, at minimum, unsettled if I were a client of Wan Wagenen’s at CAA. How might he use the sensitive information he was privy to as an agent to his advantage as a GM?

We have seen the analytics wave take over front offices around baseball. As ownership looks for ever more ways to pocket more cash, Van Wagenen’s candidacy may signal an upcoming wave of agents transitioning into front office roles. Hopefully that doesn’t become the case. There may be no one better equipped to take advantage of labor than someone experienced on that side of the battlefield.