By Rob Rains
Three Cardinals were named finalists for the Gold Glove awards this season on Thursday – first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, second baseman Kolten Wong and left fielder Tyler O’Neill.
Not selected as a finalist was catcher Yadier Molina, and the nine-time winner was not happy about it.
In a message posted on his Instagram account in Spanish and translated into English, Molina basically said that he didn’t believe Major League Baseball wanted him to catch Johnny Bench, who won 10 Gold Gloves in his career, three behind the career leader for catching awards, Pudge Rodriguez.
“I see an injustice to those who decide or not,” Molina said. “I don’t know if it’s @MLB or whoever but it’s clearly that they don’t want this Boricua Jibarito to draw with the great @johnnybench_5. … I’m judged by not supporting the league in anything and not being their puppet.
“For me at 38 years I’m still the best. Ask every catcher in the MLB and they will tell you.”
The three finalists for the Gold Glove for NL catchers were Willson Contreras of the Cubs, Tucker Barnhart of the Reds and Jacob Stallings of the Pirates.
The selection of the finalists for this shortened season were determined strictly be defensive metrics. Normally, the metrics are only part of the determining calculations, with coaches and managers from each team also voting for candidates and finalists are chosen through a formula that combines the two results.
Molina was not among the top three finishers in almost all of the defensive metric categories this season except for throwing out five of 11 basestealers. His five errors were the most by any NL catcher this season.
Another Cardinals player who was expected to be a finalist and fell short of finishing among the top three was center fielder Harrison Bader. Named finalists at that position were Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves, Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers and Trent Grisham of the Padres.
Named a finalist at first base along with Goldschmidt were Brandon Belt of the Giants and Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs. Wong, trying to win his second consecutive award, was joined as finalists by Adam Frazier of the Pirates and Nico Hoerner of the Cubs for the second base award.
The two other left-fielders named a finalist along with O’Neill were David Peralta of the Diamondbacks and Shogo Akiyama of the Reds.
Winners will be announced on Nov. 3.