On Friday night at the Gold Glove award ceremony in New York, a pair of unbelievable defenders were awarded the Rawlings Platinum Glove, honoring the top overall defender in each league.
In the American League, it was Twins’ 23-year-old center fielder Byron Buxton taking home the honor. Buxton won his first Gold Glove in his first full season in the big leagues and his play was so spectacular that he was recognized over all of the other Gold Glovers around the diamond.
He’s the first member of the Twins to win the prestigious award.
Buxton finished second in defensive WAR behind Angels’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons, and he led all American League center fielders with 24 defensive runs saved.
He also rated as MLB’s fastest player according to Statcast’s sprint speed metric and converted more four-star catches (92.9%) than any other outfielder in the league.
He plays with the type of reckless abandon in the field that leads to many highlight-reel catches, but also puts him at the risk of injury. His season ended early in the Wild Card game after he crashed into the outfield wall while making a spectacular grab to rob Todd Frazier of extra bases.
In the National League, it was Nolan Arenado who was hailed as the top overall defender. Unlike Buxton who was a first-time Gold Glove winner, it was the fifth time that Arenado had picked up that hardware. In doing so, he became the first infielder in MLB history to win the award in each of his first five seasons.
It was his first time winning the Platinum Glove and the first time that a National League third baseman had won the award.
Arenado led all MLB third baseman in defensive runs saved with 20, and also topped his position in defensive WAR (2.3).
At this stage, he’s undoubtedly the top defensive third baseman in the league. What he’s doing now is putting his name in the conversation for the top defenders all-time at the hot corner.
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Casting a Line
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported Friday that the Marlins had already engaged in trade discussions with at least four different teams regarding star slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
Morosi named the Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants and Phillies as teams that were already involved in the sweepstakes. The Marlins are desperately looking to shed payroll, and with $295 million remaining on his 13-year contract, it’s starting to look increasingly likely that he will be on the move this winter.
While the Cardinals had been rumored to be the leading contender early in the process, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald indicated Saturday that the Red Sox have growing interest and that talks between the two sides “may be heating up”.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Dave Dombrowski has stolen a franchise-caliber star away from the Marlins, as he was the architect of the deal that brought Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers in 2008 for a package of prospects that included Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin.
Quick Hits: The Phillies announced Friday that Dusty Wathan will be their third base coach and John Mallee will be their hitting coach in 2018. Wathan has been in the organization since 2008 and was serious candidate to earn their managerial gig before Gabe Kapler beat him out… Former Indians’ and Mariners’ skipper Eric Wedge interviewed for the Yankees’ managerial opening on Thursday… The Braves announced Friday that Eric Young Sr. will join the staff as first base coach and Walt Weiss will serve as their bench coach for the upcoming season… 15-year-old Cuban right-hander Osiel Rodriguez was extremely impressive during the Nations Baseball Showcase in the Dominican Republic on Thursday. He touched 96 mph with his fastball, sitting routinely at 95, while retiring all five hitters he faced (three via strikeout). He’s the top pitching prospect in the 2018 class… Shohei Otani said Saturday that he’s open to hitting or pitching, or doing both, in the big leagues. There will be no shortage of interest in his services, as his unique skill set makes him an intriguing commodity for virtually every club… Brian McCann told the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Saturday that he would like to end his career with the Braves… Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported Sunday that the Giants have interest in acquiring Jackie Bradley Jr. from the Red Sox… According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Royals have serious interest in retaining both Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer… Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Brad Ziegler is on the Cardinals’ radar… Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman announced Sunday that the club won’t interview any other managerial candidates until Thursday, after the conclusion of the general manager meetings… MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported Sunday that the Twins have reached out to the Reds regarding the availability of closer Raisel Iglesias, though it’s unlikely the Reds would want to move the 27-year-old hurler who is under team control through the 2021 season.