Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is still grappling with his new status as a Gold Glove winner.
“For me,” he said, “the gold standard has always been (Texas third baseman Adrian) Beltre. You look at him. … I think the world of him. He’s phenomenal.
“Being in the same division as him for a few years now, and watching him, I can’t imitate the things that he does. Just the consistency by which he makes plays is fun for me to watch.”
Beltre won two Gold Gloves while playing for the Mariners in 2007-08 and subsequently won two more. He was one of three finalists this season, along with Seager and Oakland’s Josh Donaldson.
Now, for this year at least, Seager is regarded as the best.
“That’s something,” he said Wednesday while taking a break from his vacation on the North Carolina coast. “That’s great for me. I can’t even think about that aspect. I just like being in the same conversation.”
The Gold Glove winners were announced Tuesday by Rawlings Sporting Goods, the award’s sponsor since 1957, on ESPN2. Second baseman Robinson Cano and pitcher Felix Hernandez were finalists at their positions.
Seager is the first Mariners player to win the award since outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro Suzuki in 2010. Seager cited coach Chris Woodward as a major factor in his defensive improvement.
“He helped me out a lot with the footwork and the positioning,” Seager said. “Just putting myself in a better position to succeed. He got me to where I was more confident. He helped me out tremendously.”
Woodward spent 12 years as a big-league infielder before retiring in 2012. He joined the major league staff late in the 2013 season after serving much of the year as the Mariners’ minor league infielder coordinator.
Seager, 27, was a second baseman when chosen by the Mariners in the third round of 2009 draft. He didn’t convert to third base full time until he reached the big leagues in 2011.
Now he has a Gold Glove.
“This is one of those awards …,” he said, “when you win it, you can’t really believe it. … I have a little ‘man cave’ upstairs in my house. I’m going to put it smack dab in the middle somewhere.”
SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS
Cano faces stiff competition in his quest to win his sixth Silver Slugger award when this year’s recipients are announced Thursday on MLB Network.
The awards, sponsored by Louisville Slugger, are the batting equivalent of the Gold Gloves and recognize the top offensive performer at each position in both leagues.
Cano won the award the past four years for American League second baseman. He was also the 2006 recipient. He won all five of his Silver Slugger awards while playing for the New York Yankees.
No Mariner has won the award, which dates to 1980, since Ichiro in 2009.
Like the Gold Gloves, the Silver Slugger awards have a statistical component in addition to balloting by the managers and coaches in each league.
That statistical component includes the three slash numbers: batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Cano compiled a .314/.382/.454 slash. By comparison, he won the 2013 award with a .314/.383/.516 while playing for the Yankees.
His top competition this year figures to come from Houston’s Jose Altuve (.341/.377/.453) and Detroit’s Ian Kinsler (.275/.307/.420).
KUMA, CANO PREPARE
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma and Cano are scheduled to work out Thursday and Friday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles with other players in preparation for an upcoming tour of Japan.
Iwakuma and Cano are part of a select team that will play a five-game series against Japan’s national team (Samurai Japan).
The series starts Nov. 12 in Osaka and continues Nov. 14-16 in Tokyo before concluding No. 18 in Sapporo. The MLB team will also play exhibitions Nov. 11 in Osaka and Nov. 20 in Okinawa.