Gold Glove candidates announced today

Let's start out today's blog entry with a reminder that baseball's award for defensive excellence is the Gold Glove. It's not the Golden Gloves, though former Orioles reliever Alan Mills should have been awarded one after decking Darryl Strawberry.

The finalists for the 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards will be announced today, and the winners will be revealed Tuesday beginning at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Let's just hope the X Games don't run long.

The Orioles were the only team to have three players take home the hardware last year. They joined the Yankees as the only teams with more than one selection.

Last year also marked the 18th season that the Orioles had multiple winners, and the most since second baseman Roberto Alomar, first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and pitcher Mike Mussina in 1998. It was the ninth time in club history that the Orioles had at least three players win the award in the same season (also 1998, '76, '75, '74, '73, '71, '70 and '69).

Shortstop J.J. Hardy won his first Gold Glove, beating out Elvis Andrus and Brendan Ryan, and he's expected to be a finalist again later today.

Catcher Matt Wieters and center fielder Adam Jones each won their second Gold Glove. Wieters beat out Alex Avila and A.J. Pierzynski, and Jones beat out Mike Trout and Austin Jackson.

Jones is among three Orioles outfielders to win Gold Gloves, joining Paul Blair (1967, 1969-75) and Nick Markakis (2011). Markakis wasn't a finalist among right fielders last year due to his limited number of games, but he didn't commit an error this season - same as 2011 - and figures to make the list.

Third base brings the most interest to me. The Rangers' Adrian Beltre won it in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. The Rays' Evan Longoria won it in 2009 and 2010. They figure to join Manny Machado on the list of finalists, though the Athletics' Josh Donaldson could crash the party.

If Machado loses, you will hear the screams from the warehouse and wherever manager Buck Showalter is seated.

Machado committed 13 errors in 156 games and 484 chances. Beltre committed 14 in 146 games and 339 chances. Longoria committed 11 in 147 games and 386 chances.

Considering that Machado seemed to make the top plays on "SportsCenter" every night, I like his chances, so to speak, despite his lack of experience and past accolades. Bleacher Report predicts that he'll be the only Oriole to win it.

Showalter has been pushing for Chris Davis to win a Gold Glove at first base, but he also concedes that the Royals' Eric Hosmer and the Rays' James Loney will be tough to beat. I certainly agree with him.

Managers and coaches vote on the award, but the SABR Defensive Index will account for approximately 25 percent of the balloting this year.

Here are some other key dates to keep in mind, which can be found on MLB.com:

Right after World Series:
* Eligible players become free agents

Fourth day after World Series:
* Last date to request waivers on draft-excluded players until next spring

Fifth day after World Series:
* Last date to reinstate players from 60-day disabled list
* Last date to outright potential minor league free agent without MLB contract
* Last date for former club to tender qualifying offer to players
* Minor League players become free agents at 5 p.m. if applicable

Sixth day after World Series:
* Major league and minor league free agents may sign with all clubs

Twelfth day after World Series:
* Last date for players to accept qualifying offer from former club

Nov. 4:
* Players Choice Awards

Nov. 5:
* BBWAA Awards finalists announcement

Nov. 6:
* Silver Slugger Awards

Nov. 10:
* Outright waivers secured on or after Sept. 1 expire at 5 p.m.

Nov. 11:
* Sporting News Executive of the Year named
* New waiver period begins
* BBWAA Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year

Nov. 11-13:
* GM/Owners Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

Nov. 12:
* BBWAA Managers of the Year

Nov. 13:
* BBWAA Cy Young Awards

Nov. 14:
* BBWAA Most Valuable Player Awards

November 18:
* Last date to ask outright waivers on an injured player

Nov. 20:
* Last date to outright an injured player to the minors
* Reserve lists for all major and minor league levels filed

Dec. 2:
* Tender deadline

Dec. 5:
* Last date to request outright waivers to assign player prior to Rule 5 Draft

Dec. 9:
* Last date to outright a player prior to Rule 5 Draft

Dec. 9-12:
* Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

Dec. 12:
* Rule 5 Draft

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