Daily Distractions: About the newfangled sabermetric Gold Glove Award component, and which Dodger it helps.

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke is one of five Dodgers nominated for Gold Glove Awards. (Associated Press photo)

At 320 pages, the most recent edition of The Fielding Bible is shorter than most editions of the more famous Bible, but still rather long for a topic that’s proved difficult to qualify and quantify over the years. There’s no Cliffs Notes version of the Fielding Bible, but I’ll recommend this excerpt that claims Matt Kemp shouldn’t have won a Gold Glove Award in 2011. Whether you agree with the conclusion or not, the thought process behind the conclusion is very insightful.

Today is a big day for fielding. THE big day. The Gold Glove award winners will be revealed at 5 p.m. in a live show on ESPN2, and five Dodgers are among the finalists. Their fates depend in part on a new wrinkle to the voting process: The SDI, short for the SABR Defensive Index.

The SDI counts for approximately 25 percent of the vote, according to SABR’s website, and that 25 percent can be further broken down into a series of acronyms that look like a disorganized jumble of refrigerator magnets: DRS, UZR, RED, DRA and TZ. Managers and coaches still hold a majority of the vote, and each player’s SDI score was included on the ballots distributed to each team’s staff.

What does it all mean, and what does this have to do with The Fielding Bible?

Fielding Bible co-author John Dewan is the co-founder of Stats LLC and the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, whose data feeds into all those nifty acronyms — and this year, the Gold Glove Award. And Dewan’s data believes that Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke should win a Gold Glove Award.

Yesterday, TheFieldingBible.com posted its annual picks for the best fielder at each position in the majors. Greinke is scarcely mentioned, because the two leagues weren’t separated and Toronto Blue Jays right-hander R.A. Dickey was chosen as the best fielding pitcher in baseball. But Greinke was chosen as the second-best fielding pitcher in baseball, and the best in the National League.

Greinke has never won a Gold Glove Award (a tiny shame, since his current contract holds no Gold Glove Award bonuses but his last contract, signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2009, did). Tonight could be his night. If so, he can thank SDI and TMI — too much information.

Some bullet points for a Turkish Republic Day:
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Daily Distractions: Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu named to All-Rookie team by Baseball America.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig (left) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (right), here celebrating the Dodgers’ playoff-clinching win in Arizona on Sept. 19, were named to Baseball America’s All-Rookie Team on Monday. (Associated Press photo)

Awards season is heating up, and Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu are starting to get some ink as two of baseball’s top rookies.

The two Dodgers were part of Baseball America’s 2013 all-rookie team, announced on Monday. Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez was left off the list, which covers both leagues and only left room for one relief pitcher, five starting pitchers, and three outfielders.

Here’s what Baseball America wrote about Puig and Ryu:

OF  Yasiel Puig • Dodgers

Though he plays the game with a flair that rubs some opponents the wrong way, Puig hit .319/.391/.534 to lead all rookies with at least 400 plate appearances in average, OBP, slugging percentage and isolated power (.215). Like Myers, his performance leaves no doubt about future power production in right field, not after belting 27 homers between Double-A Chattanooga and the Dodgers. His arrival in Los Angeles on June 3 also coincided with returns to form by Zack Greinke and Hanley Ramirez, leading the Dodgers to a 69-38 (.645) record the rest of the way. Pitchers succeeded in expanding Puig’s strike zone early in the year, but he stabilized his hitting approach in August and September, batting .273/.373/.487 with 21 extra-base hits in 54 games and a workable 24-to-46 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

SP Hyun-Jin Ryu • Dodgers

Ryu had no trouble slotting into the Dodgers rotation behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke as he transitioned from the Korean major league to the NL. While he didn’t provide the jaw-dropping highs of the other pitchers here—or the impact of Myers or teammate Puig—he did deliver the most innings by a rookie (192) while not hurting himself with walks, home runs or stolen bases. Opponents succeeded on only one of three steal attempts despite Ryu’s heavy diet of changeups (22 percent of the time), sliders (14) and curves (10).

Baseball America also chose Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez as its Rookie of the Year. If that’s any preview of how the Baseball Writers’ Association of America plans to vote — given Fernandez’s credentials, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be — neither Ryu nor Puig will be collecting any hardware on Nov. 11 when the BBWAA announces its rookies of the year.

Some bullet points for a Monday morning:
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Dodgers, Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero agree on 4-year, $28 million deal.

Ending months of speculation, the Dodgers have agreed to sign Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to a 4-year, $28 million contract.

The contract includes a $10 million signing bonus and is expected to be announced by the Dodgers as soon as this afternoon.

Guerrero, 26, gained a reputation as a power hitter in Cuba despite his small frame (listed at 5-10, 200 pounds). He batted .302 in eight national tournaments for Cuba. In his final full season in Cuba (2011-12), he hit .290/.402/.576 with 21 home runs for Las Tunas in Serie Nacional, Cuba’s top league. The following postseason, Guerrero hit .240/.296/.480 with one home run and five RBIs.

It’s unclear how those numbers would translate to Major League Baseball, and some observers have questioned whether he is ready for a full-time major league job. He projects as a second baseman, which doesn’t bode well for Mark Ellis if Guerrero is ready to take over at the position.

The Dodgers hold an option for 2014 on Ellis for $5.75 million. By signing Guerrero, the Dodgers appear more likely to exercise the $1 million buyout in Ellis’ contract.

The 36-year-old Ellis is a lifetime .265/.330/.390 hitter who has carved out an 11-year major-league career with his glove. His .9907 fielding percentage as a second baseman is fifth all-time.
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Daily Distractions: To Hanley, or not to Hanley?

Hanley Ramirez

The Dodgers are 35-37 this season when Hanley Ramirez isn’t in the starting lineup. (Associated Press)

At some point this month, maybe tomorrow if the Dodgers have clinched a playoff berth by then, Don Mattingly will be asked how he balanced winning September games with keeping injured players intact for October. The answer was not obvious when the sun rose and it wasn’t any clearer when Hanley Ramirez was listed third in the batting order for today’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Mattingly told reporters in Phoenix on Wednesday that Ramirez likely would be out of the lineup today. Ramirez isn’t fully recovered from the irritated nerve that led him to receive a pair of cortisone injections over the weekend, and watching him run the bases has been painful at times. It’s abundantly clear he isn’t healthy.

Yet playing Ramirez can’t be a simple matter of keeping him fresh; he’s 6 for 15 with four runs scored and an RBI on four or more days’ rest this season. Dee Gordon is healthy, so far as we know. So are Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston Jr., who’s been taking ground balls at shortstop recently.

Here’s a better stat: The Dodgers are 52-28 with Ramirez starting, but 35-37 without him. Simply put, they are an average team without Ramirez in the lineup.

Run him into the ground, and Ramirez won’t be in the lineup at all in October.

Don’t play him at all in September and there might not be an October — at least, it’s felt that way at times recently.

At some point, we’ll find out how the thinking goes in the manager’s office.

Here be some bullet points for a National Speak Like a Pirate Day:
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Alexander Guerrero switches agents, can sign with all 30 major-league teams.

Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero has switched agents, leaving Rudy Santin for Scott Boras, and is no longer close to signing that widely reported 7-year contract with the Dodgers.

Guerrero remains a free agent, able to sign with all 30 teams. The Dodgers have been the frontrunners to sign the 26-year-old, but no one in the organization has commented on Guerrero since he reportedly defected from Cuba.

As we wrote last week, things have changed since it was first reported in July that Guerrero and the Dodgers had a contract in place. Maybe things have changed enough that Guerrero will now land outside Los Angeles.

Dodgers expected to announce signing of Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero.

The Dodgers are expected to announce the signing of Alexander Guerrero following multiple reports Monday that the Cuban infielder has been cleared by the United States government to sign with an MLB team.

ESPN Deportes reported that Guerrero’s contract was for seven years and $32 million, while MLB.com reported that the deal could be between five and seven years. The Dodgers have yet to confirm the signing, and it’s not clear where Guerrero will debut.
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Daily Distractions: Report: Alexander Guerrero cleared to sign with MLB teams.

Alexander Guerrero made headlines Monday morning for the first time in about six weeks, which is impressive considering 1, he hasn’t played any baseball in the meantime and 2, he hasn’t signed a contract yet. The latest news is that the Cuban second baseman has finally been cleared to sign with any MLB team.

The Dodgers reportedly signed Guerrero in July — a report that was denied by Guerrero’s agentonly to be called the front-runner to sign him today. That elicited elation in some corners, temperance in others.

Two evaluators familiar with Guerrero from Cuba suggested back in July that his value has been inflated by that of fellow Cubans Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes. Guerrero isn’t in their league as a hitter, or that of first baseman Jose Abreu, who also recently defected and will play somewhere in MLB next season. One person I spoke with suggested that Guerrero would need time at Triple-A first.

While recent history suggests that the Dodgers can win a bidding war for Guerrero, would they want to? Two things to recall since that first report came out in July:

1. The Dodgers reportedly tried trading for Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick. Talks fell through at the July 31 deadline and Kendrick injured his knee, making him an unattractive piece for the Dodgers’ playoff push. But if the framework for a deal was solid enough to revisit talks with the Angels this winter, maybe the Dodgers have turned away from Guerrero. Just speculation there.

2. Perhaps just as important, the minor-league regular season is over. No team can stash Guerrero in Triple-A for a stretch and see how he performs before adding him to the major-league roster. Do the Dodgers consider time in the minors necessary for Guerrero, or just a nice bonus? Would they really throw Guerrero on the expanded major-league roster now, in the middle of the playoff hunt? If not, would Guerrero be willing to wait until next season to play in the majors?

Some more bullet points for California’s 163rd birthday:

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Daily Distractions: The Dodgers get a chance to show if their road trip was for real.

Adrian Gonzalez

The Dodgers have won 10 straight road games, a first since the team moved to Los Angeles. (Associated Press)

To put the Dodgers’ 6-0 road trip in perspective — a different kind of perspective — consider that the two teams they swept, the Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays, had completely winless homestands too.

Before losing three straight to the Dodgers, the Blue Jays were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays.

After losing three straight to the Dodgers, the Washington Nationals lost three straight to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Take nothing away from the six-game winning streak and what it meant in the standings, but the Dodgers’ four-game weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds should provide a more accurate gauge of how well the team is playing.

It begins tonight against a pitcher, Mat Latos, who is 0-5 in his career at Dodger Stadium. Zack Greinke is 6-0 in his career at Dodger Stadium. So there’s a good omen.

Some bullet points for a Thursday morning:
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