Soon-to-be-free-agent catcher Yadier Molina was not pleased upon the release of the 2020 Gold Gloves finalists on Thursday afternoon. The NL finalists are Willson Contreras of the Cubs, Tucker Barnhart of the Reds and Jacob Stallings of the Pirates.
In his 17 years with the Cardinals, Molina has won nine Gold Gloves. The record at catcher is 13 from Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez, but Molina is eyeing Johnny Bench, who has 10, apparently. Molina took to Instagram to vent his frustrations (original link with the caption in Spanish here).
Yadier Molina on not being named a Gold Glove finalists. pic.twitter.com/vIumxAhR4Z— 101 ESPN St. Louis (@101espn) October 22, 2020
If MLB didn't want a Puerto Rican to catch Bench, I'm not sure how Molina thinks Rodriguez got to 13, because he's also Puerto Rican. Also, the Gold Gloves this year were determined in a different fashion than years past. Usually, there's a vote by human beings. This year it was solely determined by numbers, using SABR's defensive index. In order for MLB to conspire against Molina, it would've had to manipulate the numbers and, boy, that seems like an awful lot of effort to pull off what Molina believes an anti-Puerto Rican attack when a Puerto Rican catcher already passed Bench.
This is probably pretty funny to fans of the Cubs, Reds and Pirates. On this note, Contreras seemed to enjoy the news and possibly even Molina's message ...
😎— Willson Contreras (@WContreras40) October 22, 2020
Molina, 38, hit .262/.303/.359 with four homers and 16 RBI this season. On Fangraphs' defensive WAR, Molina ranked fifth among NL catchers behind Contreras, Stallings, Omar Narvaez and Barnhart. In defensive runs saved, he was tied with Contreras and a host of others for seventh with Barnhart and Stallings sitting 1-2. Framing metrics had Molina 13th in the NL and behind all three finalists. He led all NL catchers in errors with five. He trailed the three finalists in fielding percentage. He allowed three passed balls, which was the same as Stallings but more than Contreras and Barnhart.
Molina threw out five of the 11 attempted stolen base runners he faced, but otherwise pretty much every other number says he didn't earn a top-three finish here. That's not a conspiracy. It's a simple reality.
If you want to argue the awards shouldn't be numbers-based, especially in a season that was only 60 games, there's a good discussion to be had. In looking at only numbers, however, Molina doesn't make the cut in 2020.