Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is now on the gold standard when it comes to his fielding skills.
Seager, 27, won a Gold Glove for defensive excellence Tuesday after a season in which, by all major fielding metrics, he showed remarkable improvement.
“It is an honor,” Seager said, “just to be up for the award with all the great third basemen — let alone win the Gold Glove. I really owe a lot to my coaches, especially Chris Woodward. He helped me tremendously.”
Seager beat out Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, a four-time recipient, and Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson in becoming the first Mariners player to win a Gold Glove since outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro Suzuki in 2010.
Second baseman Robinson Cano and pitcher Felix Hernandez were also finalists at their positions. Cano lost to Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, while Houston Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel won the pitchers’ award.
The Mariners had at least one Gold Glove recipient for 24 consecutive years before getting blanked for the past three seasons.
The Gold Glove caps a breakthrough year for Seager, who was also picked as an All-Star for the first time in his career and was twice chosen as the American League’s player of the week.
“He was great offensively,” manager Lloyd McClendon said, “but I’ve been saying all year he should seriously be considered for a Gold Glove as well.
“What he does on the other side of the ball is just as important. He’s turned into a complete player. He’s a tremendous worker who dedicated himself to that (defensive) side of the ball.”
Major defensive metrics underscore Seager’s remarkable defensive improvement over a year ago. His fielding percentage improved from .964 to a league-leading .981, and his error count dropped from 15 to eight.
Seager led all major league third basemen with a 96.6-percent “good throw” rate and with a plus-24 rating in runs saved. He had a minus-4 rating in 2013.
The offseason figures to provide at least one more major reward for Seager — a financial one. He is eligible for the first time for arbitration, which positions him for a major jump from his 2014 salary of $540,100.
Seager and the Mariners also show mutual interest in discussing a multiyear deal.
Hernandez moved a step closer to his second career AL Cy Young Award. He was cited by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) as one of three finalists.
The others are Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber and Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale. The winner will be announced Nov. 12 on MLB Network.
“To be a finalist for the Cy Young Award is great,” said Hernandez, who previously won the award in 2010. “That’s what we work for every year, to be one of the best.
“This recognition is a testament to the hard work that I put in during the offseason, and it is great to be mentioned as one of the best pitchers in the American League.”
The BBWAA announced three finalists for each of its awards. Voting on all awards took place prior to the start of postseason by a 30-person panel in each league.
Each panel consisted of two BBWAA members from each league city.
Hernandez is seeking to sweep the three major AL pitching awards. He was previously honored by his peers with a Players Choice Award, and by AL executives with The Sporting News’ award .
Other BBWAA award finalists:
• AL Most Valuable Player: Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley, Detroit designated hitter Victor Martinez and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
• National League MVP: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton
• NL Cy Young: Cincinnati right-hander Johnny Cueto, Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Clayton Kershaw and St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright.
• AL Rookie of the Year: Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, New York Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances and Los Angels Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker.
• NL Rookie of the Year: New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, Cincinnati outfielder Billy Hamilton and St. Louis second baseman Kolten Wong.
• AL Manager of the Year: Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Scioscia, Baltimore’s Buck Showalter and Kansas City’s Ned Yost.
• NL Manager of the Year: San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy, Pittsburgh’s Clint Hurdle and Washington’s Matt Williams.