Derek Jeter won a Gold Glove today, meaning that the managers and coaches who voted felt that he was the best defensive shortstop in the American League. There has already been much made of this, and surely more will follow, so for now, let's focus on the other undeserving winner: Adam Jones.
The Orioles center fielder won his first Gold Glove after a 2009 season that saw him record 349 putouts and commit five errors in 363 chances (with a fielding percentage of .986) -- all pretty average numbers (it wasn't even his best season). Sure, he had a lot of great plays (you can watch them right here, and really, there's some awesome catches in there), but does that warrant a Gold Glove? ESPN's Rob Neyer doesn't think so.
In the outfield ... the voters were wise enough to make room for an exciting young outfielder who burst upon the scene in 2009 with some of the most brilliant defense we've seen in center field since the heyday of Andruw Jones.
I am referring, of course, to the stupendously amazing Franklin Gutierrez, who ... Wait, what? They didn't vote for Franklin Gutierrez, who spent the entire season catching everything in sight and racking up phenomenal numbers?
Nope. They didn't. The voters instead went with Adam Jones, who played well in center field in 2008 but was (at best) average in 2009.
While people still seem undecided on which statistic is best when measuring defensive skills, UZR (ultimate zone rating) is pretty good one: "The number of runs above or below average a fielder is in both range runs and error runs combined." So, a higher number is good, zero is average, and a negative number is bad. In 2009, Gutierrez's UZR was 29.1; Jones' was -4.7.
Even SB Nation's Camden Chat, while certainly excited for their team's young outfielder, knows that the best man did not win today.
There is a reason the Gold Gloves are considered a joke by a lot of people. Anyone who pays attention to baseball knows that the best outfielder this year was actually Adam Jones' replacement in Seattle, Franklin Gutierrez. He was the best and it wasn't even close. Additionally, Carl Crawford has been one of the best defensive outfielders for years but he's never won a Gold Glove. That guy playing next to Crawford in Tampa Bay, B.J. Upton, is also deserving.
I really hate that I can't feel awesome about this. But I can't. I love Adam Jones and there is no doubt in my mind that one year, probably in the near future, he will play centerfield at such a level that he deserves the GG. But this year isn't it.