November 9th, 2010
Two days into free agents and their agents talking with other teams, the competition is stacking up for Victor Martinez. The Boston Globe cites a major league source saying that six teams have inquired on Martinez, including the Red Sox.
The Tigers, of course, aren’t commenting on their talks with agents on specific players. But Dave Dombrowski said Monday they’re moving forward in discussions and talking where they see a fit.
“We know what our thought process is,” Dombrowski said in general. “We know where we want to go. We’re moving in that direction. … For us, we’ve started the process, and that means that at times you’re already talking to people at this time.”
There’s a belief out there that once a player is among the best at his position, it usually takes him an extra year or two after that to be recognized for it with a Gold Glove award. It’s just that difficult for new candidates to get into the thought process of coaches and managers. So even if Tigers rookie Austin Jackson deserved recognition for his defense in center field this year, he wasn’t going to get it.
And he didn’t. Nor did any of the Tigers, who were shut out on Gold Gloves for the second time in three years.
With Gerald Laird’s numbers down this year, Jackson and Brandon Inge were the two Tigers with any sort of chance this year. Inge really didn’t have that much of a chance, the way Evan Longoria handled the hot corner this season. Fittingly, one of the defensive highlights MLB Network showed for Longoria tonight was the double play he started against the Tigers back in July at Tropicana Field, the play that left Inge and Jim Leyland marveling.
As for Jackson, again, he’s a rookie, and while his over-the-shoulder catches gave him some much-deserved highlight time, they didn’t give him enough votes. There were two first-time winners among AL outfielders, but it was Carl Crawford and Franklin Gutierrez, who joined mainstay Ichiro Suzuki.
Gutierrez has built his reputation over the last couple years as a great center fielder ever since joining the Mariners from Cleveland, where he was stuck in a corner spot with former Gold Glove winner Grady Sizemore entrenched in center. If Jackson can build off this past season with improvements in some areas — he had a couple late-season lapses — you wonder if he could break into the group.