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Zero Phillies named finalists for Gold Glove Award


After the 2019 season, the Philadelphia Phillies had three finalists – J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper and Aaron Nola – for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award at their respective positions. This time around, zero Phillies are among the league’s Gold Glove Award finalists, which were announced Thursday.

J.T. Realmuto can become a free agent this offseason. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Realmuto, who ultimately was the National League Gold Glove Award winner at catcher a year ago, is perhaps the most surprising name not to be among the finalists. Still, a year ago Realmuto threw out 37-would be basestealers, while posting 12 defensive runs saved and 8.0 framing runs above average. In 2020, Realmuto had -1 defensive runs saved and 2.2 framing runs above average.

The three nominees at the position are Tucker Barnhart of the Cincinnati Reds, Jacob Stallings of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs. Barnhart and Stallings’ respective metrics are significantly better than Realmuto’s.

None of this is to say Realmuto still isn’t a very good defensive catcher, but the 2020 season was only 60 games, and for the final third of the season, Realmuto was dealing with a hip injury that often kept him out of the lineup or forced him to be used at either DH or first base.

It should be understood that that it’s pretty unlikely Realmuto ever tops or even matches what he did behind the plate in his first season with the Phillies. Realmuto will turn 30 before next season, and catchers don’t normally improve defensively as they age. The Phillies will have to factor that in when they weigh whether to meet his asking price or not in free agency.

Meanwhile, Bryce Harper saw a defensive decline this season as well, though it can probably be attributed to the fact that he dealt with a lower back injury for at least half of the shortened 2020 season. In 2019, Harper posted 10 defensive runs saved and tied his career high with 13 outfield assists. In 2020, he finished with -1 defensive runs saved and two outfield assists.

Considering he’ll only be 28 next season, it wouldn’t be surprising if a healthy Harper is a Gold Glove Award finalist next season.

As far as Nola not being a finalist again, Phillies Nation‘s Destiny Lugardo probably put it best when she said that “I don’t know how you award a Gold Glove to a pitcher in a normal year let alone a 60-game season.”

The one Phillie that really had a strong defensive campaign in 2020 was Jean Segura, but he spent enough time at third base to keep him out of the running for a Gold Glove Award at second base.

The bigger issue facing the Phillies isn’t that none of their players are finalists for the award at their respective position, but that Andrew McCutchen and Alec Bohm combined for -13 defensive runs saved in 2020. Add onto that there is uncertainty about the futures of Realmuto and Didi Gregorius – not to mention that we don’t know if the DH will return to the National League in 2021 – and it’s fair to be concerned about the team’s defensive outlook next season, among other things.

Two former Phillies middle infielders – César Hernández and J.P. Crawford – are American League finalists at their respective positions.

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