The World Series champion Royals added to their collective trophy case on Tuesday night, winning three Gold Glove awards for the third season in a row. The only surprise was the absence of four-time winner Alex Gordon. He was replaced in the winning trio by first-timer Alcides Escobar, who joined first baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher Salvador Perez.
Gordon lost out to Yoenis Cespedes in left field. The Tigers traded Cespedes to the Mets just before the July 31 trade deadline. The Royals believe Gordon was penalized for his midseason groin strain, which cost him nearly two months of action.
“We know that Gordie would be a Gold Glove winner if he didn’t miss two months,” manager Ned Yost said on a conference call after the awards were announced. “There’s no way around that. He’s the best left fielder in the game. I was hoping that the two months wouldn’t hurt him, but obviously it did.”
The ascension of Escobar lifted Yost’s spirits, though. He professed his admiration for his shortstop and postseason spark plug, who had already made his first All-Star team in 2015 and won the MVP in the American League Championship Series. Hosmer offered similar regards.
“You just see how many good plays he makes,” Hosmer said, adding, “Just being his first baseman and getting to see him each and every day, and him finally winning one, being an All-Star this year, being an MVP in the postseason, I think he’s really broke out to be a superstar.”
In addition, Lorenzo Cain finished in the top three in the balloting for American League MVP, along with Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson and Angels superstar Mike Trout. Cain appears set for a third-place finish, which still classifies as a supreme achievement.
“For him to even be recognized in the same conversation with Donaldson and Trout just shows you what level his game has risen to,” Yost said.
Meanwhile, both Hosmer and Perez appear set to be perennial contenders at their positions. Each won for the third year in a row.
“We realize that the strength of our club is pitching and defense,” Hosmer said. “So we know that we can’t be on top of our game if we’re not out there playing good defense. So I think it’s something we all take a lot of pride in it. That’s what we need, as a team, to be successful.”