So the baseball offseason has barely started, and the rumor mill is already churning. The first item of local interest leaked out this weekend, as Adam Jones has purportedly won his first Gold Glove Award. Now, the primary source is Adam's older brother, via his Myspace page. But MASN's Roch Kubatko received confirmation from an unnamed source, so we might be getting somewhere.
Assuming for a moment that the rumor is true, it comes as a surprise for a few reasons. I've had the pleasure to watch AJ patrol center field at Camden Yards for two years now, and it's been a blast watching him effortlessly cover so much ground and rob multiple opponents of home runs. But it still seems like he's learning on the job, and his performance can be a little uneven at times. But indeed, advanced statistical measures show that he's got excellent range and compares well when it comes to outfield assists and those highlight-reel grabs, so he's a decent choice.
But the most astounding news to me was that the Birds had only one previous Gold Glove outfielder: Paul Blair, who owned the competition for nearly a decade. "Motormouth" nabbed the honors eight times between 1967 and 1975. Moreover, no Oriole at any position has won a Gold Glove since Mike Mussina was named the American League's top-fielding pitcher in 1999.
The recent dearth of fielding accolades for the O's has allowed the Yankees to tie them for the most-decorated American League club. So as an added bonus, Jones' selection would help the hometown team keep pace. That's assuming that Mark Teixeira is the lone New York winner; Alex Rodriguez could be lurking at the hot corner.
Anyway, a tentative congratulations to Adam Jones! Aside from the occasional Silver Slugger, it's not very often in recent years that a Baltimore player has gotten some postseason hardware.