Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Ichiro and Gutierrez win American League Gold Gloves
When Seattle Mariners superstar Ichiro Suzuki sets out to begin his season the goals for every other major league player would be pretty high. What Ichiro has accomplished in Seattle is pretty incredible. He has recorded 200+ hits in 10 straight seasons which before he arrived in America had never been done before. He has also tied Ken Griffey Jr team record of 10 straight all-star games .Now Ichiro has tied hall of famers Al Kaline and Ken Griffey for his 10th straight gold glove award. No outfiedler has ever won more gold glove awards in a row than Ichiro has.
Now some people may complain that Ichiro doesn't deserve a gold glove and they may be right. On the other hand when Derek Jeter who routinely ranks last place amongst shortstops in every defensive metric wins a gold glove I'm not buying it. When Rafael Palmerio in 1999 won a gold glove despite playing in just 18 games at first base I don't want to hear it. Ichiro has been terrific with the Mariners and because the team has been terrible he isn't appreciated enough. Getting 200 hits in one season is a great season to do it for 10 years in a row is unheard of.
Ichiro still has great range for a right fielder and has a rocket arm in right field if anyone challenges his arm they will be gunned out. Just ask Terrence Long back in 2001. Ichiro like he did with Mike Cameron in 2001 and 2003 will share the outfield gold glove with teamate Franklin Gutierrez.
When the Mariners traded poplular closer J.J.Putz in the winter of 2008 the big player they got in return was Franklin Gutierrez. Gutierrez in his first year with the Mariners was a huge success with his offense but mainly his defense. He set the sabermetrics crowd on fire in 2009 recording the single greatest UZR in history. Since Gutierrez was an unknown he didn't win the gold glove award instead lost out to former Mariners top prospect Adam Jones.
Gutierrez probably didn't have as good of a year as he did last year but in baseball you have to pay your dues. Just like with Mike Cameron deserved it in 2000 he had to wait or Brett Boone in 2001. The one thing the Mariners organization knows how to do right is pick great defensive centerfielders. Ken Griffey Jr. won gold gloves from 1990-1999 then traded him for Mike Cameron who won gold gloves in 2001 and 2003. Ichiro in centerfield won in 2006,2007 and 2008 as a centerfielder as well. Gutierrez has been a great addition to the Mariners defensively and when a ball is hit to right center the batter might as well jog back to the dugout since Gutierrez and Ichiro will most likely run th ball down.
The Seattle Mariners have done a terrific job of finding good defensive players. In fact the Mariners have had a gold glove winner every season since 1987. The problem with the Mariners is they are continueing to waste Ichiro's abilities and great seasons. The Mariners have found great gems on defense but must find some offense. It's pathetic the Mariners have two gold glove outfielders, a guy who is in contention for a Cy Young award yet lost 100 games for the second time in three years. Hopefully the Mariners can turn this around before Ichiro's career has been wasted. Congrats to Ichiro and Gutierrez for continueing the one good thing this organization is good at which is producing gold glove players.