Yesterday, Rawlings announced three Gold Glove finalists at each position and the Cubs landed a whopping SEVEN players among the 27 NL nominees. That’s more than a quarter of the nominees from just one team!
My guess is that the Cubs take home the awards at shortstop, pitcher, and first base, while losing at second base (not enough exposure for Nico Hoerner), right field (it’ll be Mookie Betts), and catcher (Jacob Stallings/Tucker Barnhart are tough beats – they lead all of MLB in DRS by a wide margin).
AL Gold Glove Nominees
In the AL, one of the races that stands out is at catcher, where the White Sox landed not one, but two finalists: Yasmani Grandal (no surprise) and James McCann. Combined, those two had a monster season defensively (10 DRS), as you’d expect. Grandal will probably win his first award. Also from the White Sox, rookie Luis Robert has been nominated in center field, Yoan Moncada has been nominated for third base, and Danny Mendick has been nominated for second base – for a total of five candidates. Not bad.
Also fun? Alex Gordon has become a finalist for left field yet again, which means he could win his eighth (and final) Gold Glove award, as he sets his sights on retirement. What a career that guy has had.
Also, I just stumbled on this little fact while perusing the DRS leaderboards:
Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) wasn't created until 2002, but did you know that Jason Heyward (144 DRS) is the all-time leader in DRS for the outfield?
And he's 4th overall for any position:
1. Adrian Beltre
2. Andrelton Simmons
3. Yadi Molina
4. Jason Heyward
5. Russell Martin
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) October 23, 2020
Luhnow Totally Knew
It’s a weird feeling, personally, to continue focusing on the Astros cheating scandal. It was a HUGE story at a time, but then COVID-19 happened and this all just seems so distant and so much less important. And, frankly, I don’t know how much I need another negative thread to follow in 2020.
But when new information like this is STILL coming out, it’s tough not to want to pull your hair out:
“The best interpretation of the evidence is that Luhnow either knew exactly what the video room was doing, or knew generally what they were doing and willfully chose to keep himself in the dark,” a person with knowledge of the investigation said. https://t.co/2CWhXPFVIi
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) October 22, 2020
In case you missed it, *just this week* Luhnow did an interview wherein he didn’t claim only to have known absolutely nothing about what was going on at the time, but actually seemed to feign defensiveness and outrage in the face of any alternative. But that’s par for the course these days. Some leaders lie. They act like victims.
And then a few days later, something like this comes out:
“Luhnow received emails that put him on notice of the activity, but claims he only read parts of the emails even though he responded to the emails,” the person said. “One witness clearly stated and provided evidence that Luhnow knew, and others identified facts indicating that Luhnow knew.”
You can read the article for yourself for more, but long-story short: He almost certainly knew, or – at best – worked extremely hard to avoid knowing.
Player’s Choice Awards
We already know that Trevor Bauer beat out Yu Darvish for the Players Choice NL Outstanding Pitcher award, but you can check out the rest of the NL and AL winners right here. The awards include outstanding player, outstanding pitcher, outstanding rookie, etc. But one of the most fun outcomes for 2020 was the Players Choice award winner for NL Comeback Player of the Year: Daniel Bard.
You may remember him from some brief time in the Cubs organization, but it’s been a very, very long road. I’ll let the tweet do the history lesson:
SEVEN years out of MLB. SEVEN.
MLB Players have voted Daniel Bard as NL Comeback Player in the 2020 Players Choice Awards presented by @Topps!
Daniel defied odds for the @Rockies. After a bad case of the yips, minor league deals and retirement, he's back!
Congrats, Daniel! pic.twitter.com/ZPVgJ9W4w7
— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) October 22, 2020
Mookie Betts Was Almost a Brewer
Mookie Betts was drafted in the 5th round of the 2011 MLB Draft, by Theo Epstein as a matter of fact. With a lower draft profile, then, he wasn’t *immediately* a top prospect on everyone’s radar. So when the Brewers GM, Doug Melvin, and the Red Sox GM, Ben Cherington, were working on a mid-2013 deal for reliever Francisco Rodriguez, it wasn’t absurd to ask for Betts in return.
Cherington ultimately declined the offer, but claims Melvin was the first GM to ask for Betts pre-breakout. By the end of the season, as Cherington puts it, teams were asking for Betts in every single deal: “Every deal, his name was the first one. It was a non-starter for us.”
And there’s an additional Cubs layer here, beyond Epstein: Derek Johnson, who was with the Cubs and Brewers and is now with the Reds, was one of the drivers of that Brewers effort to land Betts. Small world. Now Betts is a Dodger for life. At least he’s not in Milwaukee.
Pirates on the Move
Speaking of which … Ben Cherington is now the Pirates General Manager (how did Betts not end up in the NL Central?) and he has a lot of work ahead of him. Aside from the fact that the Pirates always seem to have financial issues, the pandemic-related impact *plus* a full 40-man roster *plus* 11 players on the 60-day IL is going to create quite the crunch. The Athletic estimates that a quarter of those 51 players will soon be gone.
But more to the point, the Pirates have an absurd 19 (!) players eligible for arbitration, which really means they’re going to non-tender a ton of guys. That’s not the only way they’ll adjust things, though, and Rob Biertempfel runs through their options.
Among the interesting names, Trevor Williams is a non-tender candidate, Chris Archer is likely to go, Keone Kela is a free agent, while Josh Bell and Gregory Polanco are trade candidates. There are plenty more interesting names and I suspect the Pirates will be willing to deal with anybody. They are probably going to suck again next year.
Odds and Ends:
• MLB has a “brain drain” problem, which R.J. Anderson believes puts the loss of institutional knowledge; further deterioration of working conditions and attempts at improving diversity; and the continued development of the sport and its strategies” at stake:
I’ve had even more front-office types reach out the past few days to confirm they’re having the same experiences, the same conversations; the dynamics described within transcend role, organization, and service time. This is a real, widespread issue, and it’s not going away.
— R.J. Anderson (@r_j_anderson) October 9, 2020
• Jeff Bagwell opens up:
Jeff Bagwell Talks About Being an Alcoholic For the First time — All-Time Astros Great Opens Up to Help Kids in Recovery https://t.co/mbzLdu5Kzc
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 21, 2020