KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three isn’t enough for the Royals.
A trio of Royals received Gold Gloves on Friday evening, rewarding stellar defensive seasons from catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Eric Hosmer and left fielder Alex Gordon. But Kansas City thinks its defense deserves more, especially after a recent decision to keep Lorenzo Cain in center field.
"I just feel like we have five guys, or six guys, that could possibly win Gold Gloves," manager Ned Yost said. "As crazy as that sounds, because that’s way, way out there. You got five guys, or six guys, that you think can win Gold Gloves on one team? I’ve never even thought about that before. Realistically, I think that’s the case. Hopefully, next year, we’ll have more."
Alcides Escobar at shortstop has played magnificent defense, while Mike Moustakas has been good at the hot corner. Cain, meanwhile, has made a highlight-reel play in seemingly every game this season.
Last year, he did not qualify for a Gold Glove in center field because he logged a significant amount of time in right field as part of Yost’s late-game defensive substitutions. But Yost has decided to keep him in center field this year, opting for Paulo Orlando, Jarrod Dyson or even Reymond Fuentes to play right in the absence of Alex Rios. Why?
"Because Cain is the best center fielder in baseball," Yost said. "We’re going to leave him there. … We discussed these things for hours as a coaching staff. There’s not one of my coaches that recommend moving Cain out of center field. Not one of them."
Yost said the reason the Royals did it last season was to try and save Cain’s legs late in the year. But early in April, he doesn’t need that.
"Instead of roaming both gaps in center field, we were trying to take some pressure off his legs by moving him to right field," he said. "He doesn’t need that right now."
Dyson started in right field Thursday and Orlando was there Friday. Dyson figures to see more time in right, though Yost said he plays center and left field much better.
The Royals’ defense has been praised as the best in baseball and its play early on has confirmed that. Kansas City was the final team to commit an error this season and ranks in the top 10 in both double plays turned and thrown out basestealers.
"We feel we have some guys that can definitely win some Gold Gloves, and were pretty close to winning last year," Hosmer said. "We’re built on pitching and defense, and that’s the strengths of this park."