I am absolutely dumbfounded right now. I just saw that Derek Jeter received a Gold Glove for the 2010 season. Did I miss something? Did I sleep through the entire season? I mean, I'm a Mets fan, so for part of it, yes I did, but only concerning my own team. I did not, however, fail to notice that Derek Jeter is no longer a top-10 shortstop in baseball, and judging by the coverage of the postseason, neither did the rest of baseball.
So why exactly does Jeter deserve a Gold Glove?
If you want to tell me it's solely because he led the American League in fielding percentage (.989), fine. But then you have to also show me how many chances Jeter got. Nevermind, I'll tell you. He had 553, which put him seventh among AL shortstops. So Jeter gets less chances, which can often lead to a higher fielding percentage. So that can't be the reason.
What else could it be?
He didn't have the most assists (365, sixth in the AL). He didn't start the most double plays (94, third in the AL). He wasn't getting to balls in the hole (his range factor was only 3.78, good for eighth among qualified shortstops).
So why? Why did Derek Jeter, the same Derek Jeter who is the subject of so many articles explaining why he doesn't deserve a big contract, receive a gold glove?
The answer is simple—because he's Derek Jeter.
As a baseball fan, I'm offended by the idea of giving a player an award solely based on name and not ability, which is what happened here. Derek Jeter didn't deserve a Gold Glove.
Cesar Iztruris played an excellent shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles. He had 50 more chances than Jeter, was only three points behind Jeter in fielding percentage (.985) and committed only three more errors (9). He didn't start as many double plays, but he had seventeen more assists.
Izturis certainly deserved a Gold Glove. You could make a case for few different shortstops over Derek Jeter, but I guess no one did.
Make no mistake, the reason Jeter received a Gold Glove is the same reason he's going to get a contract worth more than he deserves with the New York Yankees. Everyone knows his new contract will be a farce, but at least Jeter can put it on the mantle next to his 2010 AL Gold Glove.