Phillips won't concede to Barney: Gold Glove should be mine
September 18, 2012, 9:18 pm
The Cubs are lobbying for Darwin Barney, someone they believe will be a core player alongside Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.
But Brandon Phillips has won two consecutive Gold Gloves, and three in the last four years, setting the standard in the National League.
The Cincinnati Reds second baseman began to repeat the question – Do you think you’re going to win another Gold Glove? – before rolling with the swagger and personality that has brought him more than 583,000 Twitter followers, and sparked a team with World Series ambitions.
“I feel like I should,” Phillips said Tuesday at Wrigley Field. “But I don’t make the decisions. I feel like the Gold Glove is mine to stay until somebody beats me to it.
“I just feel like I make plays that guys don’t make. I feel like I have the range that most second basemen don’t really have (and) I make errors on plays that guys won’t get to – and I get penalized for it.
“If I had no range or whatever, I feel like I wouldn’t make an error at all – you just catch the balls that are hit to you and the balls where you take two steps or whatever. (That way) I can go a whole year without making an error.”
It didn’t sound like Phillips was taking a shot at Barney, who has set a National League record by going 132 straight games without an error at second base. Back in spring training, Barney approached Phillips and asked questions about how to play the position and the two talked shop in Arizona.
So Phillips said he wishes Barney the best, but, no, he hadn’t heard about the streak.
“Honestly, I don’t even know,” Phillips said. “What, he has one or something? ... Oh, really, that’s cool. That’s nice. Honestly, I’ve been too busy winning.
“You know what I’m saying? I’ve just been too busy winning. I worry about myself and I worry about this team. If they don’t play for the Reds, I don’t really worry about you, honestly, unless you’re like my homeboy or something like that.”
Phillips – who has committed five errors this season – wanted to make a broader point about how you should think about defense.
“The majority of my errors this year have been on plays that normally second basemen don’t get to,” Phillips said. “(It’s the) ball hit on the shortstop’s side and I tried to go get it.
“When organizations and scorekeepers are so used to you making plays like that on a daily basis, then they’ll give you an error for it.
“But I don’t worry about that type of stuff, man. The only thing I can do is just go out there and catch the ball – try to be the best defensive second baseman I can be. And everybody knows I’m the best defensive second baseman.”
So these metrics aren’t perfect – Barney has the edge over Phillips in fielding percentage (.999 to .991) and UZR (11.8 to 3.6) – and the managers and coaches casting ballots will have to go by the eye test and word of mouth.
“They’re very different second basemen,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “We obviously all know how flashy Phillips is – but what goes along with that flash is he backs it all up and does a great job.
“Barney’s more of a traditional, fundamental, not as flashy (defender), but obviously gets the job done as well – as well as anybody ever has in a single season.
“It’s just the competitiveness in everybody. Barney wants to show him and he wants to show (Barney) he’s still the reigning Gold Glove guy.”
In Sveum’s mind, Barney has already proven that he’s a core player the Cubs should build around, given his defense, leadership skills and intangibles.
“There’s no question,” Sveum said. “Sometimes there’s no difference in changing a game with your defense (or) your offense and he’s definitely saved runs and changed baseball games with his defense.
“He’s a game-changer defensively, the way he positions, the way he turns double plays and the offense I think is just going to get better and better.”
, Gold Glove
, Wrigley Field
, Chicago Cubs
, Patrick Mooney
, Cincinnati Reds
, Darwin Barney
, Brandon Phillips