Two Mets, Phil continue Golden streaks
Gold Glove awards give recipients great joy, pride
Carlos Beltran and David Wright are among the National League Gold Glove Award winners again this season. Beltran has now won three straight Gold Gloves, while Wright has won two Gold Gloves in a row.
"I take a lot of pride in being a complete player," Beltran said on Wednesday on MLB.com. "Even on the days when I don't get a hit, I feel I can make a difference in the field."
Wright ranked seventh among National League third baseman in fielding percentage in 2007 and ranked fourth this past season. He also tied for the league lead among third basemen with 416 total chances and also went 36 straight games without committing an error.
"Individual awards are nice," Wright said, "but, for me, my entire focus is on the team and getting back to the playoffs."
Rollins gets another, too: Jimmy Rollins won his second straight Gold Glove at shortstop in the National League. He's the first Phillies player to win consecutive Gold Gloves since Scott Rolen did so in 2000-01.
"It is an honor anytime you are recognized as one of the best defensive players in the league," Rollins said in a statement cited in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's something I work very hard at, and I understand the importance of playing on both sides of the ball. I would like to thank all the managers and coaches for believing that I am one of the best."
McLouth joins Van Slyke with Gold Glove: Describing the honor as "out of nowhere," Nate McLouth has picked up his first Gold Glove -- the first Pirates center fielder to do so since Andy Van Slyke in 1992.
"Definitely surprised," McLouth told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Obviously thrilled, but definitely surprised. There are only three selected out of the entire National League, and there are a lot of great outfielders in the National League."
Victorino follows title with Gold Glove: As if winning the World Series wasn't enough for Shane Victorino, he won his first Gold Glove earlier this week and was thrilled when he heard the news.
"I can't believe it," Victorino told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's definitely an accomplishment. To win an individual award after winning a team award definitely is an honor. To be recognized as one of the best defensive players in the game. ... I've always taken pride in my defense. You can always find a way to help on defense. You can be 0-for-20 and still find a way to help your team win defensively."
Phillips rewarded for defensive excellence: Brandon Phillips is well-known throughout the league as a big hitter, but those that see him regularly are acutely aware that he's much more than that -- he's also a great fielder. This week, he was honored as such when he picked up his first Gold Glove.
"It feels great," Phillips told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I put defense first. This is more important than 30-30. Defense wins games. Everybody knows that. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me. This is what I do. This is my passion. I love it."
Adrian Gonzalez snags first Gold Glove: Adrian Gonzalez won his first Gold Glove, and is the first San Diego first baseman to win a Gold Glove.
"I am surprised with the candidates out there -- [Albert] Pujols, [Derek] Lee, [Mark] Teixeira," Gonzalez told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I thought it might be tough for me to get something like this. It's rewarding, especially against the competition out there and knowing who voted for the award. It makes you feel like people know what you're contributing."
Gold Glove is first for Molina: Yadier Molina has probably had better seasons defensively, but even in an "off-year" he's still one of the top catchers in the game -- and was recognized as such this week when he won his first Gold Glove. His manager, Tony La Russa, says his value goes far beyond the numbers game.
"Statistics are helpful, but they're not the determinant. He was the best catcher in the league," La Russa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"If a couple of numbers, for whatever reason, weren't quite as good as in the past ... I don't think it's payback. He was the best guy in the league. He established one more time that ... his body of work was the difference."
Moyer likely on the lookout for multi-year deal: Jamie Moyer, a World Series champion coming off a 16-win season, could command a multi-year deal even though he'll turn 46 later this month.
"I think he wants a multi-year deal," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro told MLB.com last week. He added, while smiling, "I know he wants to pitch until he's 50."
Helton targets Spring Training for return: Todd Helton, who is rehabilitating from surgery to clean up a bulging disk in his lower back, believes he will be ready to go when Spring Training starts.
"I have a lot of confidence in our doctors and trainers, and all indications are if Todd follows his program, he should be fine," general manager Dan O'Dowd told the Rocky Mountain News.
Maybin brings stability to center field: The Marlins believe Curtis Maybin might eventually be the answer in center field.
"The guys that we have there defensively have done a solid job for us," general manager Michael Hill told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Maybin changes the complexion of things with his speed and his ability to cover so much ground. We want to be as good a defensive team as we can everywhere. That's our ultimate goal."
Webb hopeful for contract extension: Brandon Webb and his agent, Jonathan Maurer, won't be surprised if they hear from the Diamondbacks soon about a contract extension. Webb is signed with Arizona through 2010, but both sides have shown a willingness to extend his stay in the desert.
Webb led Major League Baseball with 22 wins and had a 3.30 ERA in 2008.
"He wants to stay," Maurer told the Arizona Republic. "He's not trying to break [Johan] Santana's deal or [CC] Sabathia's. He's going to be 30 in May. As a free agent, he'll be 32. This is the contract; this is the deal for him. The next deal we do is his big deal."
Giambi could be back with Yankees: The New York Yankees have not ruled out Jason Giambi's return, nor has Giambi.
"It's early," Arn Tellem, Giambi's agent, told the New York Daily News. "Obviously Jason would welcome the opportunity to go back if there's interest there, so we'll just have to see how it plays out and what the Yankees do."
Cain staying put with Giants: San Francisco has no plans to trade young ace Matt Cain.
Asked if Cain is untouchable, general manager Brian Sabean told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Yes. Clubs know that. That hasn't necessarily discouraged clubs from inquiring or making suggestions of offers. But we don't see anything out there that gives us a net gain by losing him."
Garret Anderson likely to part with Angels: After 14-plus seasons with the Angels, Garret Anderson is a free agent and resigned to the possibility he will be moving to a new club in 2009.
"I like familiar," Anderson told the Los Angeles Times. "I was talking to Torii [Hunter], and he was telling me what it's like to be the new guy, playing in a new system and in a new city. I've never had to deal with that, but it's something I'm going to have to start dealing with whether I like it or not.
"But if I do go on to play elsewhere, I want to thank the fans here. I'm so thankful for the 14 years I had here and would like to get that message to them."
Aussie Rowland-Smith at home in Seattle: Australia native Ryan Rowland-Smith has lived in many different places in the world, but has decided to make Seattle his home. This winter the Mariners' pitcher plans to visit Hong Kong and Australia, but he now calls the Emerald City his home.
Seattle, Rowland-Smith told the Seattle Times, "reminds me a lot of being in Australia.
"Just attitudes," he added. "People seem to be open-minded and worldly in Washington. And also, there's just a lot of little things that remind me of home."
Hawkins, Wolf both aim for a return to Astros: Houston Astros assistant general manager David Gottfried met with reliever LaTroy Hawkins' agent, Larry Reynolds, and then joined general manager Ed Wade on Wednesday for a meeting with Arn Tellem and Joel Wolfe, who represent pitcher Randy Wolf.
"David Gottfried and I met with Arn and Joel Wolfe today on Randy and had a good conversation," Wade told the Houston Chronicle. "And we agreed to get together sometime next week and begin the discussions in earnest.
"David also met with Larry Reynolds on LaTroy Hawkins. I think we're making progress there."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.