Welcome back to another Rival Roundup. As the World Series rages on (does baseball rage, exactly?) most teams are sitting on their proverbial hands (do baseball teams have a collective pair of hands, exactly?) and waiting for the eyes of the baseball world (does the baseball world have a pair of eyes, exactly?) to turn back onto them.
Still, there’s always something to report as far as news is concerned (does news get concerned, and are you tired of this joke yet?) so that’s what I’m here to do. Complaints and queries about whether or not any of the below constitutes “news” can be faxed — yes, faxed — directly to Mr. TJ Gorsegner (Ed note: I do actually have a fax line, but I won’t give you that number.)
Something a bit more chipper after last week’s decidedly more languid affair - the B-side to a slightly more famous song.
- Cleveland sends pitcher Zach Plesac, second sacker Cesar Hernandez, and backstop Roberto Perez into the finals for Gold Glove candidacy. While MLB is giving us a rather narrow defensive evaluation this year, it stands to reason that a team held up by good pitching would have solid defense straight up the middle, as well.
- Chaska native Brad Hand wins the Upper Midwest Player of the Year at our Diamond Awards. Let’s give him a Brad.
- 1B Jose Abreu was voted the A.L. Outstanding Player in the 2020 Players Choice Awards, like Chicago vets Frank Thomas and Jermaine Dye before him.
- In addition, five Sox were shortlisted as finalists in the Gold Glove Award voting.
- Crossover news! Incredible. Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol interviewed with the Detroit Tigers for their vacant managerial position. Grifol’s name was in the mix after Brad Ausmus left the team, but this was his first official interview with the organization. Ultimately losing out to Mike Matheny, Grifol was a candidate for the Royals job over the offseason, after unsuccessfully interviewing for the same role in both Baltimore and San Francisco. He may be a longshot candidate, but he could also see himself on a Derek Shelton-esque track to the skipper’s office.
- There’s also a Twins connection; Grifol was drafted out of FSU by your Minnesota Twins in the 6th round of the 1991 draft. He OPS’d as high as .829 in Triple-A, but never made the majors.
- Nicky Lopez and Alex Gordon are Gold Glove finalists.
- Cult hero Don Kelly is another recent interviewee; the super-utility man spent most of his career 1) with the Tigers, and 2) over the age of 30. Never a great hitter, his versatility, old-school name, and grit were just a few attributes that endeared him to the Michigander faithful. Is he on track to a lengthy tenure as beloved Motor City manager?
- Former Twins Jonathan Schoop and Niko Goodrum are finalists for Gold Gloves at their middle-infield positions.
By this time next week, we’ll have crowned the 2020 champion. And after Saturday night’s madcap ending, we’ll certainly have a lot to talk about in the meantime.
All for now!