If you're familiar with this site, its community, or any of the general nose-thumbing at traditional measures of success, things like Gold Gloves are viewed as somewhat of a joke. This is the same award handed to Derek Jeter late in his career while many other, more deserving candidates sat by. It's the same award that was handed to Rafael Palmeiro in 1999, after he started 128 games at designated hitter. We laugh, we kid, we'd bring this all up if Kyle Seager didn't just go out and win it.
But he did, and for the immediate time being, we can pretend it's a totally awesome and perfect measure of player defense. Seager beat out two amazing defenders in their own right in Josh Donaldson and Adrian Beltre, the latter of which most of us have seen up close. But Seager's win isn't without merit, even ignoring the numbers -- Seager looked much improved this year, demonstrating outstanding range and closing speed. It was far and away Seager's best year at the hot corner, and now he'll have the hardware to celebrate it.
Though Seager did trail Josh Donaldson in both of the major advanced metrics (+20 vs. +10 in DRS, +15.5 vs. +10.6 in UZR), he still graded out as outstanding in both of those categories. And while there's plenty of the usual caveats about single-season sample size etc -- Seager did have a worthy case to be considered among the best, even if he wasn't quite the best by metrics. Last week, Peter took a deeper look at his candidacy from a deeply analytical perspective. Let's not understate it -- Seager just beat out two outstanding defenders. That's as big of a feat as the award itself.
So maybe the Gold Glove is kind of silly, and Kyle Seager might not have been the best by the numbers. But he was without question awesome, and you're all encouraged to let cynicism go and celebrate his victory. Through all the disappointing young players, Kyle Seager has emerged as both an All-Star and a Gold Glove winner born and raised a Mariner for his entire professional life, and for all the casual fans that don't realize there are better ways to measure an accomplished player, they know recognize. The Boss is boss.
Of course, that does come with some unintended consequences. The Mariners probably missed their best window to extend Kyle Seager last year, and after this year's 5.5 win season, Seager will no longer be a potential bargain to buy out some free agent years. Whether or not we believe the Gold Glove is legitimate or not, you can bet his agent will claim it is, and he'll have some extra leverage in negotiations. The price tag for Seager keeps rising, and he still hasn't hit what could be his offensive peak. If the Mariners don't get a deal done for him this offseason, he might start to dream of dollar signs in other markets around 2018.
If the Gold Glove doesn't matter to you, at least be happy because it matters to the players. Yes, it's often inaccurate and past decisions have been laughable. But browse around the people close to Seager and there's an outpouring of glee from his brother, his wife. and his teammates.
That alone should warm our cold, analytical hearts. Congrats, Kyle. Now don't ever leave us, please.