The Gold Glove Awards were doled out today, and one Cubs All-Star (the only one to get a finalist spot if I’m not mistaken, sorry Nico Hoerner) got himself the prize:
Never mind the irony that a gold plated glove wouldn’t be able to very effectively catch a baseball, but apparently this was well-deserved for Ian Happ, both by the numbers and by the eye test:
Obviously the Cubs will promote this until he’s traded for Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani:
All kidding aside, this is a pretty solid year for Ian Happ, who made just under $7MM in 2022 and should be closer to $10MM if not exceeding it (if MLBTR is in the ballpark, which they usually are) in his final arbitration year. The prevailing thought is that Happ will be an extension candidate, and I think that’s wise for maintaining some level of veteran leadership, continuity, and also because he’s pretty solid even if Aisle424 still hates him. Based on what I can tell with my eyeballs and rudimentary understanding of baseball, Happ has always been above average offensively, and while I wish he had shown more ability at center field or second base, he’s looked alright in left field, and this past season he has at least made you think, “yeah, he should probably win a Gold Glove” and that’s saying something even if FanGraphs might not be as kind.
If he is anchoring LF, then you do wish he would hit for more power, given that his ISO has been dropping for a while yet, but I think he’s also been hitting better against lefties while batting right handed, which I hope is not a fluke. And despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary, Happ has also recorded his lowest K-rate of his career in 2022, so he seems capable of adjusting in an era that is definitely not kind to hitters. I am at the point where I would welcome the continuity and would not object to Happ sticking around for a few.
The entire Gold Glove winners list, if you care about these things: