The Kansas City Royals had four players named finalists for Gold Glove awards. Two took home the defensive honor, while two others missed out. Here are the full results.
One of the calling cards for the Kansas City Royals in recent seasons has been defense. It’s been rewarded with several American League Gold Glove winners over the past handful of seasons. And even though the team results haven’t followed in recent years, the defensive performances of a few players continue to be recognized.
This year, four players were named as one of three finalists at their respective positions. On Tuesday, the winners were announced. Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon won their fourth and fifth Gold Gloves, respectively. They were the only AL winners with more than three previous Gold Glove wins. Salvador Perez just missed out on joining them, while Lorenzo Cain remains without a single one.
Hosmer took home another Gold Glove, having previously won each season from 2013-15 before Mitch Moreland edged him out in 2016. This year, though, Hosmer got the better of Boston’s Moreland and Cleveland’s Carlos Santana. All three of the first base finalists are free agents this offseason with Hosmer and Santana receiving qualifying offers from their respective organizations. It’s possible Hosmer replaces Moreland in Boston this winter.
In left field, Gordon picked up his first Gold Glove since winning four straight from 2011-14. This time around, the former third baseman beat out Brett Gardner, who plays for the Yankees, and Justin Upton, who played for the Tigers and Angels this past season. It’s fitting that Gordon reclaimed his place atop the list of best defensive AL left fielders, because that’s the only reason he stayed in the lineup as often as he did in 2017.
Plenty of Kansas City Royals fans flooded Twitter with messages — thankfully well under 280 characters — lamenting Perez losing out on a fifth straight Gold Glove. One reason people seemed upset comes from a lack of name recognition of winner Martin Maldonado. The 30-year-old spent the first six years of his career playing sparingly for the Brewers. This season, he became the full-time catcher for the Angels. While some chalk up Perez losing to his injury, he only played nine fewer games than Maldonado.
Meanwhile, Cain continued his unwanted quest to be the greatest defensive outfielder never to win a Gold Glove. Obviously, the decision to reward a single player at each outfield position starting in 2011 has likely hurt his chances over the years. This season, he never really stood a chance, thanks to Minnesota starlet Byron Buxton. The precocious talent outdistanced Cain and Toronto’s Kevin Pillar in a battle of three players who had yet to win a Gold Glove.
Are Gold Gloves Fairly Decided?
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Handing out Gold Gloves always seems to lead to a debate surrounding defensive metrics. A lot of the measurements have historically cast doubt upon the true value of several Kansas City Royals. Hosmer and Perez seem to be the ones who take the brunt of the advanced-stats blowback. However, many would argue there’s also something to be said for the eye test, which both players and their teammates tend to pass with flying colors.
But, at some point, your reputation precedes you. In this case, it can work to your favor. The Kansas City Royals have had at least one Gold Glove winner every year since 2011. Starting in 2013, they’ve had at least two winners each season — save for 2016. Prior to Gordon’s win in 2011, the franchise had gone five years since second baseman Mark Grudzielanek won in 2006.
That’s not to say the recent Kansas City Royals players haven’t deserved their defensive plaudits. It’s just fair to point out that once the narrative has been established that someone is a “great defensive player,” they can become the default answer for an award based less on actual numbers than any other.
What do you think? How many Gold Glove awards should the Kansas City Royals have brought home on Tuesday? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and on social media.