Put the Royals on the gold standard.
Left fielder Alex Gordon, catcher Salvy Perez and first baseman Eric Hosmer won Gold Gloves for defensive excellence Tuesday night in balloting that combined on-field staff evaluations and defensive metrics.
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“I’ve got a trophy case back in Lincoln (Neb.),” said Gordon, who won the award for a third consecutive year. “So this one won’t be a chip-and-dip tray. This one will actually go up on the trophy case.”
Perez and Hosmer are first-time recipients.
“Really, you don’t get these awards without your teammates,” Hosmer said. “The infield, we like to look at ourselves as a unit. … I’m glad that a lot of guys on our team got the award, that it wasn’t just me.”
Perez is traveling in Spain and couldn’t be reached for comment.
Shortstop Alcides Escobar and center fielder Lorenzo Cain were among the three American League finalists at their position. The winners for both leagues were announced in a live cablecast by ESPN2.
“Alcides and Lorenzo are special athletes,” general manager Dayton Moore said. “There’s no doubt in our minds that both of those individuals have an opportunity to win this award in the future.”
It still marked the first time in franchise history that more than two Royals won Gold Gloves in the same season. The awards have been presented by Rawlings Sporting Goods since 1957.
“I think it’s a tremendous honor that five of the guys were (finalists) and three guys won,” Hosmer said. “At the end of the day, that means the most — that so many guys were recognized for such good play.”
The Royals and Baltimore Orioles led the American League with three recipients each. No National League team had more than two winners.
Gordon was already one of just three players in franchise history to win the award more than once. He now joins second baseman Frank White as the only Royals player to win three in a row.
White was an eight-time recipient, including six straight from 1977-82. Outfielder Amos Otis is the Royals’ only other multiple winner; he won three times in a four-year span from 1971-74.
“The first one was pretty special because it the first one,” Gordon said. “But to be able to share (this one) with two teammates, I think, makes this one the best of them all.”
Gordon beat out Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes and Detroit’s Andy Dirks after leading the league with 17 outfield assists while committing just one error in 155 games in left field.
So why do opponents keep running on Gordon, who has 54 assists over his three Gold Glove seasons?
“I think many of the assists were to second base, cutting off runners trying to go to second,” he said. “I do think teams are doing their scouting reports and not taking home plate as much as they used to.”
“Nailing a guy at home…” Gordon admitted, “I would say throwing a guy out at home plate is my favorite play.”
The Royals had multiple winners on only three previous occasions: outfielder Al Cowens and White in 1977, outfielder Willie Wilson and White in 1980, and catcher Bob Boone and pitcher Bret Saberhagen in 1989.
The winners are determined through a vote by the managers and up to six coaches from each club plus, for the first time this year, a sabermetric-based component consisting of various defensive metrics.
Managers and coaches were not permitted to vote for players from their own teams. Rawlings said the new sabermetric component accounted for 25 percent to 30 percent of the voting total.
Perez won the catching Gold Glove in competition against two former recipients: Baltimore’s Matt Wieters (2011-12) and Minnesota’s Joe Mauer (2008-10).
“There were some great candidates that he beat out,” manager Ned Yost said. “But it just shows you where this young player is at in his development as a professional player.
“I just think he has a chance to win the Gold Glove year after year after year.”
Hosmer was a finalist in 2012 before winning this year over Baltimore’s Chris Davis and Tampa Bay’s James Loney.
“The picks mean the most to me,” Hosmer said, “especially in the late innings when you got a pitcher on the mound who has given you everything he’s got.
“Your infielder makes a big play, which our infield did plenty of times this year, and they throw it over there in the dirt. Just finishing off the big play, that’s my favorite part about first base.
“There are so many people involved in that moment, and to finish out the deal, is what I enjoy most about it.”
Escobar lost out to Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy, who won for the second straight year. Tampa Bay’s Yunel Escobar was the other shortstop finalist.
Cain was beaten by Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones, who also won last year. The other finalist was Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury, the 2011 recipient.