Three Mariners are looking to mine some off-season gold for their in-season gems.
Pitcher Felix Hernandez, second baseman Robinson Cano and third baseman Kyle Seager were identified Thursday as finalists at their positions for a Gold Glove award, which recognizes defensive excellence.
Hernandez is a finalist for the first time in his 10-year career. The other pitching finalists are Toronto’s Mark Buehrle, a four-time winner, and Houston’s Dallas Keuchel.
Cano was a 2010 and 2012 recipient while playing for the New York Yankees. The other second base finalists are Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, the 2013 winner, and Detroit’s Ian Kinsler.
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Seager is also a first-time finalist. The others at third base are Texas’ Adrian Beltre, a four-time winner, and Oakland’s Josh Donaldson. Beltre won the award twice while playing for the Mariners.
Unlike Cano, neither Hernandez nor Seager are battling the reigning winner at their positions. Toronto’s R.A. Dickey was the AL pitching recipient in 2013, while Baltimore’s Manny Machado won at third base.
The winners will be announced at 4 p.m. on Nov. 4 on ESPN2.
Most advanced metrics position all three Mariners as underdogs to win the awards. One example: Defensive runs saved above average, a computation by Baseball Info Solutions that combines numerous metrics.
Hernandez rates minus-2, while Keuchel is plus-10 and Buehrle is plus-2. Cano is zero, while Kinsler is plus-20 and Pedroia is plus-18. Seager’s plus-10 is better than Beltre (plus-9) but far behind Donaldson (plus-20).
No Mariner has received a Gold Glove since outfielders Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez in 2010. Suzuki won the award 10 years in a row, from 2001-10.
Outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. also won 10 years in a row, from 1990-99. Eleven Mariners have won the award at least once.
The award is decided through a weighted vote. Ballots from the managers and coaches in each league account for 75 percent of the balloting. The remaining 25 percent is tabulated through a sabermetric defensive formula.
Managers and coaches are not permitted to vote for their own players.
Rawlings Sporting Goods initiated the Gold Glove awards in 1957 and remains the sponsor. It presented just one award for both leagues the first year but began separate awards for each league in 1958.
No Mariner won a Gold Glove in the franchise’s first 10 years. Pitcher Mark Langston ended that drought in 1987 by winning the first of his two awards.
First baseman John Olerud and second basemen Harold Reynolds and Bret Boone are three-time recipients. Beltre and outfielder Mike Cameron each won the award twice.
Three players won a Gold Glove once as a Mariner: shortstop Omar Vizquel, outfielder Jay Buhner and Gutierrez.