The Gold Glove continues to be a screwy award

November 4, 2012

> If there’s going to be an award called a “Gold Glove” handed out to a player at each position every year, it should go to the best defensive player at that position for that given year, no?

Apparently not. Before I get into my point, here are the 2012 GG winners for each position:

American League:

C: Matt Wieters, Orioles
1B: Mark Teixera, Yankees
2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
SS: J.J. Hardy, Orioles
3B: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
LF: Alex Gordon, Royals
CF: Adam Jones, Orioles
RF: Josh Reddick, Athletics
P: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays/Jake Peavy, White Sox

National League:

C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
2B: Darwin Barney, Cubs
SS: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
3B: Chase Headley, Padres
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
CF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
RF: Jason Heyward, Braves
P: Mark Buehrle, Marlins

Plenty of guys were considered “snubbed” at their respective positions because of their reputation for making spectacular defensive plays. Take Mike Trout, for instance. He robbed home runs (literally going up the wall and bringing the ball back into the park) on three occasions this year as the center fielder for the Angels. But why did Jones win?

Statistically, Jones actually had a better defensive season than Trout; Jones had the better defensive WAR. Denard Span of the Twins also had a better defensive WAR than Trout.

In my opinion, that’s the way it should be- the guy who is statistically the best defender at each position should win. That happened in a few cases this year: Rollins had the best fielding percentage among NL shortstops, Barney committed just two errors at second base (which led NL second baseman, obviously), Teixera had just one error all year, Cano was tied for first in fielding percentage at second base, and so on.

But, of course, when it came to the possibility of a Brewer getting a Gold Glove, he got screwed. Aramis Ramirez led the NL in fielding percentage and had the fewest errors among qualifying third basemen. So who obviously wins the award at third base? Headley, duh.

But why? If one player has better defensive statistics than another player at a certain position, that player should win the Gold Glove. This is the one award I think should be strongly influenced by statistics, because there’s always going to be one player who is definitively better than another (statistically) at each position. Most of the defensive statistics go hand-in-hand, so it’s unlikely there’s going to be two players who each have one better defensive statistic than the other. This is a far different award than something like the MVP or Cy Young Award, in which there are a series of different statistics that don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with each other. That makes for more of an argument for who should win those award, which is why it’s okay for there to be voters.

But there shouldn’t be a vote for the Gold Glove. There’s a best defensive player at each position, and that’s that.


> The Brewers signed free agent righty Michael Olmsted to a minor league contract.

> Travis Ishikawa officially elected free agency.

> Two Brewers were selected to play in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game- Hunter Morris and Johnny Hellweg. Morris hit clean-up and went 1-for-1 with an infield single and a sacrifice fly.

> The Cubs nearly sent Carlos Marmol to the Angels in exchange for Dan Haren last night, but the deal wound up not going through. The Angels were looking for anything they could get before they had to decline Haren’s option for 2013, but, since the trade didn’t come to fruition, they were forced to decline the option. Haren is now a free agent and could be a possible fit for the Brewers.

> 10 teams are reportedly interested in lefty free agent Mike Gonzalez. I’d take him, seeing as the Brewers will be very thin on lefty relievers once again next year (if they have any). Manny Parra, the only lefty in the Brewers’ bullpen in 2012, is probably going to be one of the next guys to go.

> Minor moves:

Rockies: Outrighted Carlos Torres to Triple-A; reinstated Josh Sullivan, Todd Helton, Juan Nicasio, and Christian Friedrich from the 60-day DL.
Orioles: Outrighted Lew Ford, Zach Phillips, and Steven Tolleson to Triple-A.
Mets: Outrighted Mike Nickeas to Triple-A.
Twins: Outrighted Sam Deduno to Triple-A.
Royals: Outrighted Manny Pina to Triple-A; reinstated Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino from the 60-day DL.
Mariners: Signed Hisashi Iwakuma to a two-year extension; re-signed Oliver Perez.
Blue Jays: Acquired Esmil Rogers from the Indians.
Indians: Acquired Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes from the Jays.
Cardinals: Outrighted Steven Hill, Bryan Anderson, and Adam Reifer to Triple-A.
Pirates: Outrighted Ali Solis to Triple-A.
Astros: Outrighted Chuckie Fick to Triple-A; outrighted Brian Bogusevic, Jorge De Leon, and J.B. Shuck, all of whom elected free agency.
Athletics: Re-signed Bartolo Colon to a one-year deal.
Marlins: Signed Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jordan Smith to minor league deals.

Analyzing the veteran starters on the market

October 30, 2012

> Doug Melvin and the Brewers have made it known that they’re probably going to go after a free agent starter this offseason, preferable an experienced guy to anchor what looks to be a young rotation. Personally, I’m still debating whether or not that’s the right decision; the bullpen probably needs more tending to than the rotation. But, if the Brewers do choose to go after a free agent veteran starter, there’s actually a surprisingly decent market for that category this offseason. Here’s a list of the key possibilities for the Brewers:

Ryan Dempster
Zack Greinke
Jeremy Guthrie
Edwin Jackson
Hiroki Kuroda
Kyle Lohse
Brandon McCarthy
Anibal Sanchez*
Dan Haren*
Jake Peavy*

*Sanchez, Haren, and Peavy all have options (or other contract impediments) with their current teams, so it remains to be seen if they actually reach the free agent market.

Basically, the guys I listed are possibilities that I wouldn’t mind the Brewers signing, and most of them are relatively realistic for the Brewers as well. Greinke, obviously, isn’t very likely, but you still can’t count him out.

Dempster was stellar with the Cubs in 2012, but sort of fell off a cliff with the Rangers (despite a winning record in Texas). He’s clearly better in the National League, but I’d say one of the only benefits of the Brewers signing Dempster is that they wouldn’t have to face him (he has 15 career wins against the Brewers).

Guthrie might be the worst option on the list. He was awful with the Rockies, probably because of Coors Field, but resurrected himself with the Royals during the second half, posting a 3.16 ERA. Guthrie is still one of the riskier options on the list, however, and the Brewers will probably try and go with someone else.

Jackson quietly had a decent year as the fifth starter in the Nationals’ rotation, but he’s had an inconsistent career, and the number of teams he’s played for will tell you that. I wouldn’t mind the Brewers signing him, but there’s a bit of a risk with him as well.

For me, Kuroda is the best option on the list. After years of getting no run support in Los Angeles, he blossomed on the big stage in the Bronx. He proved he can pitch in the hitter-friendly environment of Yankee Stadium, meaning he probably wouldn’t do too bad at Miller Park.

There’s no denying Lohse had an unbelievable season in 2012, but I just don’t see him fitting in with the Brewers. Plus, he’s going to draw a ton of money (at least $12 million a year), and I don’t see the Brewers spending that on a starter.

In my opinion, McCarthy is one of the more underrated pitchers in the game; he knows how to shut down a good offense. But, it’s not often that he isn’t injured, whether it be shoulder/elbow problems, or taking line drives off the head.

Those are my top options. There are also guys like Joe Blanton, Jeff Francis, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, but there’s no doubt that those guys would turn into Jeff Suppan-like signings, so I hope the Brewers stay away from them.


> Now that the offseason has officially started, the Brewers made a series of roster moves today. Shaun Marcum, Francisco Rodriguez, and Alex Gonzalez all elected free agency. Marcum and K-Rod are both as good as gone, but Gonzalez has a chance of returning as the back-up shortstop (or starter, depending on Jean Segura’s status). The Brewers also reinstated Mat Gamel and Chris Narveson from the 60-day disabled list. Lastly, they re-signed shortstop Hector Gomez to a minor league deal.

The Brewers’ other free agents, Livan Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba, are already on the market, as they elected free agency during the NLCS.

> The Gold Glove Finalists were announced today. Here’s a list of them at each position:

American League

Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, Peavy, C.J. Wilson
Catcher: Alex Avila, Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Wieters
First base: Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer, Mark Teixera
Second base: Dustin Ackley, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Ryan
Third base: Adrian Beltre, Brandon Inge, Mike Moustakas
Left field: Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, David Murphy
Center field: Austin Jackson, Adam Jones, Mike Trout
Right field: Shin-Soo Choo, Jeff Francoeur, Josh Reddick

National League

Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo, Mark Buehrle, Clayton Kershaw
Catcher: Yadier Molina, Miguel Montero, Carlos Ruiz
First base: Freddie Freeman, Adam LaRoche, Joey Votto
Second base: Darwin Barney, Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips
Zack Cozart, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins
Third base: Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez, David Wright
Left field: Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Martin Prado
Center field: Michael Bourn, Andrew McCutchen, Drew Stubbs
Right field: Jay Bruce, Andre Eithier, Jason Heyward

That awkward moment when Gonzalez isn’t on the Red Sox anymore, yet could win the AL Gold Glove at first base.

Anyway, Ramirez should win the third base GG, seeing as he had the fewest errors in the league at the position. But Braun won’t win the GG in left field, because steroids. (You can bet that’s what all of the voters are thinking.)

> Minor moves:

Yankees: Exercised 2013 options for David Aardsma, Cano, and Curtis Granderson.
Phillies: Declined 2013 options for Ty Wigginton, Jose Contreras, and Placido Polanco.
Twins: Declined 2013 option for Scott Baker; signed P.J. Walters to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Exercised 2013 option for Luis Ayala.
Athletics: Optioned 2013 option for ex-Brewer Grant Balfour; declined Stephen Drew’s option; signed Mike Ekstrom to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Declined 2013 options for ex-Brewer Todd Coffey, Juan Rivera, and Matt Treanor.
Outrighted Jeff Clement, Eric Fryer, and Daniel McCutchen to Triple-A.
Indians: Signed Takuya Tsuchida.

First WC game brings about controversy

October 6, 2012

> It was an ugly, ugly sight today in Atlanta, where the Braves and Cardinals played the first ever Wild Card play-in game (or whatever you want to call it). As you’d expect, it was dramatic as ever, but things took a turn for the worse in the eighth inning.

With the Cards up 6-3 in the eighth inning, Mitchell Boggs was pitching, and allowed two baserunners to start the inning. Then, Andrelton Simmons hit what looked like a routine pop-up off the bat, and shortstop Pete Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday each went for it. It appeared Kozma had the ball played and was about to catch it, but at the last second he ran out of the way, expecting Holliday to take charge. But, as they stared at each other in shock, the ball fell in between them. This would have loaded the bases for the Braves and set them up for a comeback.

But, after the play appeared to be over, Sam Holbrook- the left field umpire- signaled that the infield fly rule had come into effect. In other words, Simmons was out, despite the fact neither fielder caught the ball.

At first glance, it looked like Holbrook blew the call: an outfield umpire shouldn’t be calling an infield fly rule, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t how the rule works. Since Kozma- an infielder- was close enough to the ball to have made a routine play on it, the rule still came into effect.

Braves fans didn’t take it well. In fact, they went as far as throwing trash on the field, which induced a 20-minute delay and forced Mike Matheny to do some jumbling in his bullpen.

So the first instinct is to blame Holbrook, but, in reality, he was just following the rules, and we can’t blame him for that- even if the rule is beyond stupid. The infield fly rule is supposedly there to keep runners from getting doubled off (or tripled off, in some cases) on shallow pop-ups like that. But, if the fielder misses it, why should he get credit for an out? That’s his fault, and the other team should be allowed to take advantage.

But, as usual, a Bud Selig idea gets off to an awful start. My opinion on the Wild Card play-in games is for another day, however.


> It’s worth noting that Holbrook was the same umpire who ejected Zack Greinke after just three batters in Houston a few months back. That was a bad call, but is probably irrelevant in this situation.

> I’m really surprised at the hate Braves fans were getting for throwing garbage on the field. Sure, it’s a classless move. But what would you have done if you were a Braves fan, and you saw a play like that occur and didn’t receive an explanation for it right away? I really don’t blame the fans at all.


> In the midst of this controversy, the Cards wound up beating the Braves by the same score of 6-3. Kyle Lohse got his first postseason win, and Matheny used his bullpen effectively. On the other side, Kris Medlen took a rare loss (though only two of the five runs he allowed were earned).

> The Rangers not winning the AL West proved costly, as the Orioles knocked them out in the American League WC game, winning 5-1. Joe Saunders, despite being 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA in Arlington in his career coming in, got his first postseason win. Former Brewer J.J. Hardy contributed one RBI for the O’s.


> The was a Brewers press release yesterday in which Doug Melvin addressed a few issues going into 2013. I’ll have my opinions on that up within the next few days.


> The Braves- who had the fewest errors in baseball during the regular season- committed three in a game when it mattered most.

Time for umpires to be ejected- from baseball

August 9, 2012

> I’ve never been one to come down on umpires. I understand they have one of the toughest jobs in baseball. Just like players make mistakes, umpires will every so often as well.

Some people would disagree with this, but, in my opinion, umpires’ mistakes are usually by accident. Say there’s a bang-bang play at first base. Sometimes the naked eye just can’t see whether or not the runner was safe, without instant replay (but that’s another story). Since MLB refuses to expand instant replay, we have to accept the fact that umpires are human and will miss calls like that every now and then.

Those are the type of umpire mistakes I can accept. But, there was an incident last night where an umpire became selfish, and an innocent player was punished because of it. Those are the types of intentional mistakes that make me hate umpires.

The incident I’m referring to occurred in last night’s Nationals-Astros game. The first part of it happened in the fourth inning. Bryce Harper was at the plate, and Armando Galarraga (who, ironically, has one of the most famous run-ins with an ump of all time) was on the mound. Harper had an 0-2 count, and Galarraga threw a fastball that ran a bit outside. Catcher Carlos Corporan sort of framed the ball, but not enough to make it a strike. But, home plate umpire Angel Hernandez (heard that name before?) called Harper out. Harper didn’t explode about the strike call, but he let Hernandez know that he thought it was outside. Hernandez appeared to take it well, and didn’t eject Harper.

All seemed well until Harper’s next at-bat in the sixth inning. The Nats had the bases loaded with two outs against reliever Chuckie Fick, and Harper was in a favorable 3-1 count. So, Fick, a left-hander, threw a cutter to the also left-handed Harper that appeared to run outside- there was no question about this one. Harper waited for a strike call, didn’t hear it, and started to run to first base. But, after Harper took a few steps out of the batter’s box, Hernandez called a strike. You could see the discontent on Harper’s face as he walked back to the batter’s box.

On the next pitch, Fick threw a cutter in the exact same place. Harper once again started to run to first base, but Hernandez called that pitch a strike as well. Harper slammed his bat in anger, but made no gesture towards Hernandez, so he wasn’t ejected.

Still, this shows that Hernandez held a grudge against Harper from the fourth inning. He also probably wanted to see if he could break Harper and make him retaliate. Harper, who is just 19, handled it perfectly, although I wouldn’t have blamed him one bit for barking at Hernandez.

The point is that some umpires aren’t even doing their job anymore. They think fans come to the games to see them, which isn’t at all the case. MLB claims that they’re evaluating their umpires, but that is in no way true. If they actually were, guys like Hernandez, Joe West, Bob Davidson, and so on would be on the unemployment line right now.


The News

> The Brewers don’t play today, which is why I decided to put up an opinionated article. They start a three-game series with the Astros in Houston tomorrow.

> Shaun Marcum’s first rehab start for the Timber Rattlers was rained out today. Instead, he’ll make his scheduled start tomorrow at 5:35 PM CT in the first game of a double-header.

> I learned from EM this morning that the Cardinals traded the one-time highly-touted prospect Tyler Greene to the Astros for a player to be named later and/or cash considerations. This comes the night after Greene was booed by the “best fans in baseball” because he made an error that would have cost the Cards the game at the time. They went on to lose to the Giants 15-0, which wasn’t all Greene’s fault. But the game could have gone differently had he not made the error.

Anyway, Cards fans have always had mixed feelings about Greene, but the past few years they’ve found ways to blame him for everything. So I’m guessing the game last night was the last straw for Greene, and he requested a trade following it.

> Last night, a pretty funny situation happened to Reds media relations director Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog), who also runs a blog. After the Reds lost to the Brewers, he got into fights publicly with a bunch of Reds fans. He also apparently sent a threatening direct message to one of the guys he was in disagreement with. The user he sent it to posted a picture of the DM a few minutes later, and Ramsey deleted his account (which he brought back this morning). Deadspin got a hold of it, so you can guess what happened from there. (Here’s a link to Deadspin’s article, which posted all the conversations/pictures Ramsey was having.)

> The Orioles called up their top prospect today, shortstop Manny Machado. There was some speculation that the O’s, when they were in the running for Zack Greinke, would need to give him up, but they weren’t willing to do that.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what they do with former Brewer JJ Hardy, who currently mans the starting shortstop position for the Orioles. Machado is starting at third base tonight, but his natural position is shortstop, so I can’t imagine they’d keep playing him at third (since Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds also need positions).

I would say this is a perfect time for the Brewers to claim Hardy off waivers and use him as a utilityman, but Hardy has been one of the Orioles’ best power hitters the past two years, so they probably wouldn’t give him up in the middle of a pennant race.

> MLB released its new playoff schedule today. It’s screwy this year, but is supposed to get better after this year:

October 4th: Regular season tiebreaker game(s) (if needed) (TBS)

October 5th: Tiebreaker games between the two Wild Card winners for each league (TBS)

October 6th: First two Division Series begin (TBS)

October 7th: Second two Division Series begin (TBS/MLBN)

October 13th: ALCS begins (FOX)

October 14th: NLCS begins (FOX)

October 24th: World Series begins at NL Park (FOX)

Now we see the effect of the two Wild Cards be added to late (if they should have been added at all). Everything is jam-packed at the beginning of the postseason. That causes the teams with worse records to have home field advantage in the first round due to time/travel issues. Sort of defeats the point of home field advantage, no? Everything returns to normal in the second round, however.

MLB Network is also going to be broadcasting a few DS games this fall for the first time in their history.

Probably none of this will apply to the Brewers, though.

> I updated the about page here at BWI. I made that page over a year ago when I first started BWI, so it was in desperate need of some updating.

On another note regarding the site, I’ve decided that I’m probably going to change the theme again. At first I liked the new theme, but lately it’s felt too busy and crowded. It makes the style of article I write feel messy and unorganized, and there are a ton of useless widgets that the theme doesn’t let me get rid of.

The Numbers

> Randy Wolf threw a 49 MPH eephus/curveball in yesterday’s game against the Reds. I think that’s a record low, even for him. You can watch the slow ball here.

> Anyway, that’s about it. I’ll be back tomorrow with more Brewers coverage.