Yes, those darned New York Yankees fooled everyone again and stole another Gold Glove away from someone deserving. Nah, not that Derek Jeter dude. Let’s face it, there are two things in baseball we can all be sure of: that the Rangers will beat the Giants in the World Series and that Jeter is a deserved Gold Glove winner every time he takes one home.
No, the guy I’m concerned about is Mark Teixeira, who captured the honor at first base.
After all, he just pickpocketed Seattle’s very own Casey Kotchman for the prize. Think about it: without this robbery, the Mariners, not the Yankees, would have gone home with three Gold Gloves.
Ichiro, Gutierrez, Kotchman. Just rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it? And that’s an apt description, because our boy Kotchman was slurping up baseballs the way a frog uses its tongue to catch flies.
What’s that? You think I’m making fun of Kotchman? Why? Because he couldn’t swing a bat in a crowded supermarket and connect with anything? My friends, offense has absolutely nothing to do with Gold Glove voting. I don’t know about you, but I saw Rafael Palmeiro play in most of those 28 games at first base back in 1999 and he was an absolute Hoover. These things are all about the glove and our guy Kotchman had it over Teixeira.
Let me show you.
Let’s look at Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), where Kotchman was at -0.4 compared to Teixeira’s score of -2.9. I mean, math was never my strong suit and I’m still using Canadian Math, but I’m pretty sure Kotchman comes out 2.5 ahead in that comparison.
OK, let’s move on to John Dewan’s stat of Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). You’ve got Kotchman at zero. Doesn’t sound all that great at first, but then you take a look at Teixeira and he’s at a -1. Cost his team a run. Kotchman wins again!
Wow, we’re really on to something here.
Let’s take a look at Revised Zone Rating (RZR). Kotchman is at .783 for the year at making plays in and around a pre-designated zone of coverage. Teixeira? He’s only at .754.
It’s robbery, I tell ‘ya!
OK, I can hear it now. Some of you are groaning that you’re sick of all these newfangled defensive stats that nobody can really seem to get a handle on. I’m told Jeter laughs at them and Jeter, well, he’s a defensive God. So, just for giggles, let’s go back to the traditional defensive stats.
Errors are where it’s at, man, and when you look at errors, you see Kotchman with just one. Just one. I saw him make it, too, and it was no piece of cake play. On the road, as well, in a hostile environment. Or, wait. Safeco Field was a pretty hostile environment for Kotchman as well, so maybe it was a home game.
In any event, one error for Kotchman.
Teixeira? Three errors. Three! Might have cost the Yankees the AL East title! I mean, compared to Kotchman, Teixeria was Bill Buckner.
I rest my case. Kotchman should have won the Gold Glove.
Daric Barton? What, you kidding me? Yeah, yeah, I saw his UZR of 12.1 and his DRS of 20. Yup, those are some high numbers. That .830 RZR looks pretty good as well.
But let’s get serious. Who’d ever heard of Barton before this year? Maybe those 12 season ticket holders the A’s have. The bubblegum card makers. I mean, he hasn’t paid his dues yet. We all know the Gold Gloves are about respect and honoring the guys who’ve been there, done that before. Not who’ve been there, done that right now. Where’s the respect in that?
OK, maybe drop the “done that” part. But definitely, these are the “been there” awards and Barton, I’m sorry, but the only place he’s been is a stadium that doesn’t even get a quorum on most nights. I couldn’t even be sure he actually played in all those games without the guy from STATS Inc. being there to mark it all down. If a tree falls in a lonely forest, can we really be sure…you know, all that stuff.
Besides, Barton made five — count ’em, five — errors. He was a human wicket out there.
Reputation matters with the Gold Gloves. How else are coaches who only see a guy live less than 20 times per year at best supposed to vote? Yes, Teixeira had a reputation before the season as perhaps the best first baseman in the game.
But wait, so did Kotchman. He had an outstanding reputation as a defensive player. Why else would the Mariners have traded 18-homer super-utility guy Bill Hall for a first baseman who hasn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag since 2007? Kotchman was all about the glove and every one of the four teams he’s played for in three years knows it. Why else would they keep trading for his .700 OPS?
So, if Kotchman and Teixeira both have reputations in two different leagues, what else is there to go by except the stats? And Kotchman has Teixeira beat in every category that matters, both new and old.
Yes folks, you wuz robbed. Seattle gets the short end of the bat yet again. It’s that darned East Coast bias, probably. But in my book, it will always be Ichiro-Guti-Kotch up on the mantle. Jeter can have his Gold Glove. But there are limits to this highway robbery thing and the Damned Yankees just crossed it.
Thanks a lot, Rawlings. Time for a re-vote!