The Pirates are going to end up with plenty of honors and awards this year, but there won’t be any Gold Gloves among them. No Bucs were among the NL winners announced Tuesday night. Andrew McCutchen (the 2012 winner), Starling Marte, and Russell Martin were finalists, but Carlos Gomez (CF), Carlos Gonzalez (LF), and Yadier Molina (C) took home the gold.
McCutchen wasn’t really a deserving winner last season, and he improved his defense significantly this year (according to UZR and the general fan consensus – including myself). That said, he still probably wasn’t the best CF in the league. Gomez was a very deserving winner with a dominating performance in the advanced metric Defensive Runs Saved and a much better UZR than McCutchen. Cutch won the award on reputation, offense, and a few highlight reel plays last year, and despite following that up with an MVP-caliber season, he wasn’t a gold glover.
Marte is basically the opposite. His advanced metric numbers should have easily given him the Gold Glove, but Gonzalez (who wasn’t bad, but wasn’t nearly as good as Marte) is a well known big-time player (mostly as a hitter) and Marte just burst on to the scene. While Starling had his share of web gem grabs, his value was mostly hidden to the naked eye by the ability to make routine-looking running grabs on balls most OF’s wouldn’t attempt to catch. Marte also had six errors (including one that nobody will forget), which is more than any NL LF…and while his great range should outweigh that, it probably doesn’t for plenty of people. It’s a shame he didn’t win, but he should be back in the conversation for years to come.
I don’t need to explain how valuable Martin was on defense for the Pirates this year…everyone saw that very clearly. He led the league in runners thrown out, although Yadier Molina had a better CS percentage. Advanced metrics favor Martin slightly over Molina, so he would have been a deserving winner, but Molina is a mainstay for this award…this was his sixth straight Gold Glove, and he was still very strong defensively this season (and is an MVP candidate).
So in summary, Marte was probably snubbed and Martin had a strong case as well, but these weren’t totally unreasonable. Besides, Gold Glove awards are nothing to get too worked up about…there have been plenty of head-scratchers almost every season.
No news on A.J. Burnett lately, but it’s been a week since he said he “would take a week or so” to decide, so look out for that talk to heat up again soon.
Michael McKenry has qualified as a Super Two player and is arbitration eligible this offseason. He won’t cost much, but that probably hurts his chances of returning. It wouldn’t make much sense for the Pirates to give him a major-league deal.
The Pirates will play two games in Philly at the end of Spring Training. They have done this a few times in recent years but did not do it in 2013.
This is random and not a big deal, but I agree with RumBunter that the Pirates should make these two changes at PNC Park next season.