The Gold Glove is undergoing a format change this year, involving a fancy awards show to be aired on ESPN2 tomorrow night (7 p.m. Pacific time).
The upshot is that for the first time, three finalists have been announced for each position, to create some dramatic tension, I suppose. I have them in my hand, and there aren’t any Mariners on the list. That’s a story in itself, since the M’s have had a Gold Glove winner every year since 1987, the longest streak of any organization in MLB.
That means, of course, that Ichiro’s streak of 10 straight Gold Gloves has come to an end, the latest of his accomplishments to be snapped this year. For the first time since coming to the Mariners, he failed to make the All-Star team, failed to hit .300, failed to get 200 hits, and now has been blanked on a Gold Glove. The finalists for right field are Nick Markakis of the Orioles, Torii Hunter of the Angels, and Jeff Francoeur of the Royals. Hard to have much argument with this, or really any argument at all. Whether using defensive metrics or the naked eye, Ichiro didn’t have a strong defensive season in 2011. By the way, this is the first time outfielders will be chosen by position. In past years, three outfielders were chosen, and all three could be center fielders. But this year there will b a Gold Glove left fielder, center fielder and right fielder.
The M’s streak of Gold Gloves began when Mark Langston was honored for pitchers in 1987. He and second baseman Harold Reynolds won in 1988, Reynolds won again in 1989, and then Ken Griffey Jr. came aboard. Griffey won in the outfield every year from 1990 through 1999, with Reynolds winning again in 1990, shortstop Omar Vizquel in 1993, and outfielder Jay Buhner in 1996. In 2000, Griffey was gone, but John Olerud won at first base. In 2001, Ichiro’s streak began, accounting for 10 more years of Gold. Outfielder Mike Cameron also won in 2001, Olerud and second baseman Bret Boone in 2002, Boone, Cameron and Olerud in 2003, Boone in 2004, third baseman Adrian Beltre in 2007 and ’08, and outfielder Franklin Gutierrez in 2010.
Gutierrez missed much of the season with illness, wiping out his chances. I thought Brendan Ryan might get some consideration at shortstop, but the finalists are Erick Aybar, J.J. Hardy and Asdrubal Cabrera. Gold Gloves are selected by a vote of coaches and managers in each league.
Here are all the finalists:
American League: Mark Buehrle, White Sox; Dan Haren, Angels; Fausto Carmona, Indains.
National League: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers; Kyle Lohse, Cardinals.
American League: Matt Wieters, Orioles; A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox; Alex Avila, Tigers.
National League: Yadier Molina, Cardinals; Brian McCann, Braves; Carlos Ruiz, Phillies.
American League: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox; Casey Kotchman, Rays; Mark Teixeira, Yankees.
National League: Joey Votto, Reds; Gaby Sanchez, Marlins; James Loney, Dodgers.
American League: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox; Robinson Cano, Yankees; Ian Kinsler, Rangers.
National League: Brandon Phillips, Reds; Neil Walker, Pirates, Omar Infante, Marlins.
American League: Erick Aybar, Angels; J.J. Hardy, Orioles; Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians.
National League: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies; Ronny Cedeno, Pirates; Alex Gonzalez, Braves.
American League: Adrian Beltre, Rangers; Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox; Evan Longoria, Rays.
National League: Placido Polonco, Phillies; Daniel Descalso, Cardinals; Pablo Sandoval, Giants.
American League: Alex Gordon, Royals; Brett Gardner, Yankees; Sam Fuld, Rays.
National League: Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks; Ryan Braun, Brewers; Matt Holliday, Cardinals.
American League: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox; Austin Jackson, Tigers; Peter Bourjos, Angels.
National League: Matt Kemp, Dodgers; Shane Victorino, Phillies; Chris Young, Diamondbacks.
American League: Nick Markakis, Orioles; Torii Hunter, Angels; Jeff Francouer, Royals.
National League: Andre Ethier, Dodgers; Carlos Beltran Mets/Giants; Jay Bruce, Reds.