Their gloves shined for all of October, and on Tuesday, a familiar trio of defenders was rewarded with gold. For the second year in a row, the Royals have three Gold Glove winners: Alex Gordon in left field, Eric Hosmer at first base and Salvador Perez at catcher.
Gordon won for the fourth year in a row. Hosmer and Perez repeated as winners after breaking through in 2013. The trio highlighted the quality that buttressed the team on their run to the World Series.
“We’ve said from Day One, if you can’t play defense, there’s probably not a spot for you in our everyday lineup,” general manager Dayton Moore said. “We’ve stayed true to that directive.”
Alcides Escobar fell short to Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, his former teammate in Milwaukee. Lorenzo Cain, one of the finest outfielders in the game, was not eligible for the award in center field. He played too many innings as a right fielder, part of manager Ned Yost’s late-game strategy to use Jarrod Dyson in center.
The fielders were not the only Kansas City representatives honored on Tuesday. Yost was named one of the three finalists for American League manager of the year. The other two finalists are Angels manager Mike Scioscia and Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Yost bested both men in October, but the voting concluded before the playoffs began. The winner will be revealed this Tuesday.
“It’s nice,” Yost said. “I don’t think I’m going to win. The voting was done before the playoffs. I kind of felt like I did my best work during the playoffs. They’re great candidates. To be mentioned with those guys is a great feeling.”
Yost is only under contract through 2015. He is due for an extension this winter. After the season ended, he indicated he hoped to manage for at least two or three more years.
The players have dispersed for the winter. Gordon has already begun training for 2014. Perez will join Escobar and Jeremy Guthrie as part of MLB’s upcoming tour of Japan. Hosmer returned to his home outside Miami.
“A lot of people are starting to realize what Kansas City Royals baseball is all about,” Hosmer said. “That’s a credit to Ned and that’s a credit to Dayton for really putting together this team and putting together a system and a team that fits our ballpark really well.”
Gordon became the first Royal to win four Gold Gloves in a row since Frank White’s reign at second base from 1977 to 1982. Perez is only the second catcher in franchise history to merit this honor. The other was Bob Boone in 1989. Hosmer is the first first baseman to win back to back since Mark Teixeira in 2009 and 2010.
“It’s really special,” Moore said. “It’s a credit to our players, and how hard they work, and the structure in place for all our coaches. To be a good defender, you have to have athleticism, a lot of concentration and a great desire to play and get better. All those guys, they all share those ingredients.”