It’s that time of year again. You know, when there is some set or another of postseason baseball awards given out pretty much EVERY DAY. Yesterday, it was something called the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year awards. Wilson is a maker of athletic equipment, including gloves, so the company has an award for defensive play. Best I can figure, the way this differs from the Gold Glove awards, which went out last week and are the traditional defensive awards that people actually care about, is that the Wilson award goes to the best defensive player on each team, regardless of position. And for the Dodgers, it went to third baseman Juan Uribe, and very deservedly so. Uribe is one of those guys you have to see on a regular basis to appreciate just how good he is defensively. He isn’t the type of third baseman who is going to show up on Web Gems very often because he isn’t the type of third baseman who is diving and lunging and flopping all over the place. But this guy can pick it. He has amazing reaction time, and it is impossible to know how many runs he saved for Dodgers pitchers this year and all three of his seasons with the club, even though during the first two of those seasons, Dodgers fans pretty much hated him, partly because he was an ex-Giant but mostly because he hit a combined .199 over those two seasons.
This year, of course, Uribe became a fan favorite, mostly because he hit 12 home runs — twice his total for his first TWO seasons in Los Angeles — just in time to become a free agent, which he still is, so it remains to be seen whether he has or hasn’t played his final game in a Dodgers uniform. If you listened to the podcast Phil Stone and I recorded yesterday, you know my thoughts on this. If you didn’t, I’ll repeat them here: given Uribe’s recent penchant for turning in his best seasons when he is in the final year of a contract (he hit 24 homers and drove in 85 runs for the Giants in 2010, just before the Dodgers signed him to a three-year, $21 million deal), the Dodgers should offer him no more than a one-year deal. Just my opinion.
The real awards, the ones voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association (MVP, Cy Young, Manager of the Year and Rookie of the Year) go out next week.
By the way, I went to an Arizona Fall League game last night just to see how the new replay-review system was going. This was the second day of testing the system in the AFL, which is limited to NIGHT games — of which there is never more than one per day — through Tuesday. As luck would have it, there were NO requests for reviews from either team in this game. I’m told there were SEVEN such plays the night before, the first night the system was tried.
Sorry, but I’m not a fan of this whole concept. I can’t imagine how much time is going to be wasted while umpires review replays and consult with somebody back in New York who is watching TV monitors of every game. And is this going to eliminate arguments between managers and umpires? Fans love a good manager-umpire argument, especially if it involves dirt-kicking, hat-tossing or base-throwing.
Finally, this is pure speculation on my part, so to be clear, I HAVEN’T HEARD THIS FROM ANYBODY, but during a lunch with a handful of colleagues yesterday, somebody started talking about former Cubs manager Mike Quade (pronounced KWAH-dee) and how he hasn’t been able to get a job, ANY job, in the game since being fired by the Cubs after the 2011 season. Well, this got me to thinking … if, as I keep reading, Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach is about to be moved into the vacant bench coach’s position now that he wasn’t hired as manager in either Detroit or Seattle, the team is going to need a new third-base coach. Quade, as someone with Cubs ties, could be a candidate given general manager Ned Colletti‘s apparent penchant for hiring people (and signing/trading for players) with Cubs or Giants ties, the two organizations for which Colletti worked before coming to the Dodgers eight years ago. And before he became the Cubs manager, Quade was the Cubs third-base coach.
Not saying any of this will happen, mind you. But if it does, just remember I was the first one to speculate that it might. This is what we in the journalism biz like to call “throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks.” Hey, at least I’m admitting it.