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June 12, 2007 at 5:39 am ET
Lead Glove Awards

No list of shitty fielders would be complete without Manny.Everyone loves to see great plays made in the field. Fans are transfixed by web gems and slick-fielding glovemasters. They even put guys that can’t hit in the Hall of Fame if they can flash some leather. There’s only one thing I enjoy more than a great defensive play, and that’s a really, really bad one. There are more than a few guys in the bigs that only wear a glove on one hand because it’s a rule of the game. Here’s my list of butchers that I love to watch bumble in the field. Be sure to check out the all-time team, too.

Catcher Victor Martinez, Indians — While it’s truly amusing watching part-time catchers bumble behind the plate (Matt LeCroy), there aren’t many starting catchers that are flat-out terrible behind the dish. An exception, of course, is Victor Martinez. The Indians have been having him play first a few times a week this season and last to “keep him fresh.” Riiiiiight. Victor couldn’t throw out a crippled midget if he had a decent lead.

First BaseDmitri Young, Nationals — There are a lot of unathletic fatasses that could have been appointed here that are safely tucked away in the AL as DHs (looking at you Big Papi!). That said, the Meathook has the grand misfortune of having to take the field every day for the Nats. For his career, he’s played more games in the outfield than at first, but putting him in either spot is an adventure. With the quickness of a battleship and the coordination of a cross-eyed goose, no manager puts Dmitri at first base if he can avoid it. Don’t laugh Brewer fans, Prince Fielder’s man-boobs aren’t far behind.

Second BaseB.J. Upton, Tampa Bay — I hate to pick on young players, but since most of the league’s truly awful two-baggers (Todd Walker, Jorge Cantu) have been moved out of the middle infield, Upton earns the nod. B.J. gets special points for being terrible at a whole pile of positions, bumbling aimlessly at 3B, SS, 2B, and the outfield. Like a true champ, Upton has notched 12 errors in 48 games so far this season.

ShortstopFelipe Lopez, Nationals — The competition at shortstop was tight. There were fatasses that can’t move (Jhonny Peralta), guys that get stuffed at first in the playoffs (Carlos Guillen) and guys that can’t hit or field (Jason Bartlett). But the worst of them all is Felipe Lopez. Cursed with hands of stone, Felipe’s career fielding percentage of .958 might be excusable if he had exceptional range. The trouble is, Lopez covers less ground than most and with his unsure hands , getting to the ball is only half the battle. (It should be noted that I resisted the extreme temptation of naming Derek Jeter here to piss off legions of Yankees fans and correctly point out how grossly overrated he is.)

People assume fast, skinny guys that can't hit are good fielders.  Chone Figgins isn't.Third BaseChone Figgins, Angels — The competition here was fierce also. If the Nationals ever played Tony Bautista, he’d be a lock here to complete the Nationals infield. Shea Hillenbrand’s a DH now and Chipper Jones only had 18 errors last season. The next natural choice is Chone Figgins. He’s finally settling into one position to be crappy at instead of sucking all over the diamond. After he fielded 3B at a sweet .878 clip last year, why wouldn’t the Angels put him there every day? After all, he can show off his laser-rocket arm he’s used to collect 8 outfield assists in the last 5 years. It should be noted that if Miguel Cabrera’s ass gets any larger he’s liable to pass Figgins on this list, as he might somehow post a negative range factor.

OutfieldManny Ramirez, Red Sox — Manny being Manny means some of the worst defense you’ve ever seen. Besides having a knack for screwing up his own plays, Manny’s been known to cut off a throw or two that didn’t really need it. He occasionally graces the league’s leaderboard for assists, but that’s because even Sid Bream would take an extra base on Manny.

Chris Duncan, Cardinals — Poor Chris was born to be a DH, but ended up in the NL. Having a fielding percentage of .958 or .932 might be reasonable for a third baseman, but a corner outfielder? Playing LF in New Busch shouldn’t be that hard, but Duncan makes it look like doing the rubic’s cube blindfolded.

Matt Stairs, Blue Jays — The modern-day Pete Incaviglia doesn’t get to grace the field much these days, but when he does, it’s a sight to behold. Never a master of geometry, Stairs takes terrible angles on fly balls and if a ball would happen to ricochet off a wall, he might never find it. Stairs was used almost exclusively as a DH last season, but apparently the Blue Jays have the same sense of humor as we do.

Honorable Mention Outfield: Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Lee

Pitcher Detriot Tigers pitchers not named Kenny Rogers — If you watched the World Series I don’t have to explain this to you. You can say all you want about how they spent time on it in Spring Training or the funny hops. They couldn’t field then, and they can’t field now. It’s pretty sad when most batters can beat Fernando Rodney to first base after giving him a 50 foot head start.

Think there’s a worse butcher currently in the bigs? Drop a comment below! Be sure to check out the all-time lead glove team!

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41 Responses to “Lead Glove Awards”
  1. BrewCrewfan says:

    Man, screw you and that Prince Fielder noise. He plays a fine first base and 98% of his errors can be attributed to bad throws that someone else made and he got charged with or not having enough experience to step off the bag and let the runner take first to stop one of those bad throws from sailing past him.

  2. Nate says:

    In fairness to Felipe he’s moved over to 2B this season, where’s he’s less craptacular. Of course, he also opened up an infield spot for Cristian Guzman, so make of that what you will.

  3. Nick says:

    What about Bonds? This article couldn’t have come out @ a better time….just last night SC called him out for his poor defensive play…..how could you have missed him?

  4. Peter says:

    This is pretty stupid. The only reason why people think Manny is a bad outfielder is because his speed isn’t good. He plays the Green Monster better than anyone in the game, gets the ball back into the infield quickly, and his arm is clearly UNDERrated. Try Bobby Abreu who is such a pussy that he can hear the “footsteps” of the wall coming up whenever he gets near the warning track. How about Wily Mo Pena whose best chance at stopping a single to RF is to just put his body in front of it and let it hit him. Whoever is paying Adam Godson his salary needs to ask him to do his job before he publishes his articles. I love how people just listen to what everyone else says regarding Manny’s defense. You’re a sheep, Godson.

  5. Adam Godson says:

    Every so often, a prevailing opinion in just that because it’s true. While this list is a bit subjective, Manny is just plain baaaaaad in the field. I was a bit surprised to take flak on Manny’s inclusion, but it speaks to the passion of Red Sox Nation. Unfortunately, bad reads, poor effort and lack of range don’t count as errors, so it’s tough to quantify. Lucky for me, some of the stats back it up:


    I don’t even call him the worst…just one of the worst.

    As for Prince, he’s one of my favorite players, but he does lead the league in errors at 1B. With his size, he’ll top out as an average fielder, though he’s better than I thought he would be.

    Bonds fields about like I would expect a 42 year old with no cartilage in his knees to field. He sucks, but not in an entertaining way…just in an old guy that I hate way. I’d also prefer to pretend that he doesn’t exist.

  6. In Chris Duncan’s defense, he was a first baseman for his entire career until last year. They had to move him to OF b/c the Cardinals have some guy named Pujols, and he ain’t bad.

    Not to mention you got his numbers wrong. The numbers you cited were for last year – .958 in left field and .932 in right field. This year, he has a fielding % of .987 – he has all of one error this year.


    Basically Dunc was learning to play OF last year, on the fly, in the major leagues. His one error last year in the World Series made him seem to be worse than he really is.

    Part of the problem with these rankings are that they are based on fielding % only, if I’m reading this right. Zone rating and other factors are not put into this. Duncan’s zone rating is .852. Compare this to left fielders like Carlos Lee (2 errors, .981 fielding %, .826 zone rating), Jason Bay (3 errors, .978 fielding %, .841 zone rating) and Adam Dunn (3 errors, .969 fielding %, .838 zone rating), and not only is he not one of the worst left fielders in baseball, there are three worse in his own divsion.

    So, do with that what you will.

  7. Saint says:

    The shame of Manny Ramirez’s left field cluelessness is that he could be great if he’d just look behind him … to Jim Rice. Now there was a nightmare in the OF who turned himself into a defensive weapon when he looked behind him … to Yaz, who …, well, you know. Even Mike Greenwell might have a tip or two on playing left field in Boston. Manny’s too proud to beg, apparently.

    And speaking of Rice, it might be fun to put together a list of guys who were awful early in their careers who became Gold Glove types. Wade Boggs, for instance, at 3B.

  8. Tom says:

    Have you ever watched Ortiz at 1st base? They should have a lead keyboard award for hack sports writers.

  9. dodger47 says:

    Unfortunately, the Dodgers have 2 of the worst OFers in baseball. Juan Pierre makes the most routine flyball an adventure and every baserunner takes an extra base on any ball hit to Pierre. Gonzolez is just old, slow and cannot throw.

    Nomar is no great shakes at 1B and Kent has become a statue at 2B. The Dodger pitchers are a happy bunch!

  10. Reid Smith says:

    Oh Manny. Regarding the throw that didn’t really cutting off…



  11. Andrea says:

    Wow, some of these guys are pretty pissed at you. I thought it was damn funny, Bugs and Cranks.

  12. Fios says:

    Victor is a lazy choice at catcher, he’s certainly not a defensive wizard but he simply isn’t the worst

  13. John says:

    Ummm….Pat Burrell? Seems as though most people are trying to defend the crappy fielding players on their teams. I am a Phillies fan and can say that Pat Burrell makes Matt Stairs look like a young Griffey. Don’t judge this solely on fielding percentage. Goto a game when philly is in town. Pat covers an area about the size of a tennis court (singles). He looks like Frankentein when he runs. I have suggested placing a mob of 19th century townspeople with torches behind him when he runs as motivation. He does have a good arm and can make some putouts, but so many balls fall infront, to the sides, and behind him. I would suggest if a poll of players was taken Pat would win pretty easily. Oh yeah, he can’t hit either. In review, he can’t field, hit, or run and makes $15 million a year. We love him.

  14. Michael Barrett got jobbed for the catcher spot.

  15. J Rose says:

    As a staunch member of RSN I have to defend the inclusions of both Manny & Papi.

    With Papi of course he rarely ever plays the position, which cost him the MVP the last two years, but when he does he is more than adequate and doesn’t draw a lot of attention to himself over there, a sure sign of a man who knows his limitations.

    As for Manny, yes he makes curious plays, soemtimes takes circuitous routes, and has that annoying habit of sidearm/flipping the ball back to the infield, but he also reads the Monster caroms perfectly, hustles to make some diving (last week)and leaping catches (a recent one in Yankee Stadium comes to mind), and has been said to practice his defense regularly.

    Besides, at least these guys are two of the best hitters in the game. Some of the runs they create should offset the few they might allow in the field. To include them with all-around stiffs like Young, Stairs & Lopez is an insult in itself.

  16. mittens says:

    lol, quickness of a battleship..funny stuff. Maybe add Wily Mo Pena next year? He’s as fluid as R2D2 out there..

  17. To say that Manny plays the monster better than anyone is a little bit generous considering he has to play off the monster — oh, I don’t know — half of every season.

  18. SK says:

    Isn’t Manny blessed to play in Boston because of Fenway’s short left field? What if the guy had to roam around a full-sized outfield, including some appreciable foul territory, that didn’t let him avoid going to the wall to catch 360-foot fly balls? He gets to play shallow, never has to run very far to catch anything, and he gets to go take a leak during pitching changes. Sounds ideal for a guy like Manny.

  19. J Rose says:

    re: Nationalcoholic

    Good point, but since half his games are played in front of the Monster, playing it well is an important factor, because misreading that wall can lead to very bad things happening.

    Plus, that play I referred to was a wall-scaling, home run saving catch at Yankee Stadium (no Monster there)

    Think you’ll ever see Adam Dunn do that? Be real.

  20. aloysius says:

    I second the Michael Barrett motion. The man is a bad, bad catcher.

  21. simon says:

    I’m a staunch Yankee fan and think Manny’s defense is a little overblown, although his comedy factor in the outfield is almost humurous.

    I think something that might be lacking here is that Manny actually has a decent arm, for instance Johnny Damon might be the worst centerfielder in the AL simply because everytime he gets the ball you get an extra base.

    I do find it humurous when people come up and go V-Mart isn’t the worst catcher and then they have no one who they think is worse.

  22. JPav says:

    Good list. F–k everyone else. Manny plays leftfield like Uncle Junior…semi-lucid.

    Really…couldn’t the Arizona Diamondbacks be on this list? Like, the entire outfield or left side of the infield.

  23. daddy says:

    wow….. i guess you never seen Vlad in right field for the angels….
    wanna talk about taking routes, you might wanna take a peak at him..
    oh by the way he can’t even fn catch…….

  24. J Rose says:

    re: simon

    Sorry, hit the wrong key.

    I can’t believe I’m doing this but I agree with you. The humor factor is definitely high when it comes to watching Manny field, and the only centerfielder who may have more of a girly arm than Damon is the man who replaced him, Coco Crisp.

  25. TedL says:

    Three words: Wily. Mo. Pena.

    Watching him dance and stutter step under a routine pop fly makes me want to throw a brick at the tv. Seeing him take the wrong angle on a ball hit over his head and jog over to pick it up? Even worse.

  26. J Rose says:

    re: TedL, mittens:

    You can’t include WMPena because he only plays once a week.

    Had he played every day, he would be a shoe-in. His defense is, dare I say, Canseco-esque.

    re: Signal to Noise, aloysius:

    Barrett in a landslide. Not only is he a terrible catcher, he’s an even worse teammate.

  27. darthmoridin says:

    Worse catchers? Ken Doll in Oaktown. Can’t run, can’t hit (anymore), can’t throw. Five-tool? No, just a tool.

  28. Andy says:

    Compared to Cristan Guzman and Juan Castro, Jason Bartlett is Ozzie Smith. Seriously, he’s not too bad. He makes a lot of plays most guys don’t get too.

    Better Choices:

    Carlos Guillen (mentioned)
    Felipe Lopez (mentioned)
    David Eckstein (complete noodle for an arm)
    Michael Young

  29. T says:

    This is the problem that everyone has with Red Sox fans, they won’t admit that any of their teams have weaknesses. It’s not that big of a deal that Manny and Papi aren’t the greatest defensive players and noone is taking anything away from their overall value on the team. Manny is meant to be a Red Sock because of that short pitch in left and I’m sorry but anyone who plays left field should be the “best” one at doing it, it’s called experience.

    Someone defended Manny with this- “As for Manny, yes he makes curious plays, soemtimes takes circuitous routes, and has that annoying habit of sidearm/flipping the ball back to the infield, but he also reads the Monster caroms perfectly, hustles to make some diving (last week)and leaping catches (a recent one in Yankee Stadium comes to mind), and has been said to practice his defense regularly. ”

    Wow, he reads his homefield better than visiting players, amazing. He hustles?! no way, the fact that he hustles means he can’t be bad at defense. (my 3 year old cousin can hustle as well). And he practices his defense regularly? I have no idea how this means he is a talented defensive player.

    Listen, Red Sox Nation. We respect your team. We are able to view them in the same manner that we view all other teams that aren’t ours. However, your group of fans for some reason feels that all other fans should bow down and worship how good your team is. You should find some balance and learn to appreciate the sports rather than just your teams (and yes I said sports, you used to do this with basketball and do this with football now as well. When another team won the championship, they are the best team until they don’t. Everyone respected your Pats, now respect the current champions.) And I’m an Eagles fan, p.s, I know we shouldn’t be respected.

  30. J Rose says:

    Dear T. (a.k.a disgruntled Philly fan),

    Thanks for the sermon/lecture on how to be a proper fan.

    “Don’t admit any of our team’s weaknesses?” Aren’t we supposed to be the same legion of doom & gloomers who rip players when they don’t perform well, hence the reputation that many players don’t want to play in Boston?

    Granted we aren’t in the same classless caliber of you Philly freaks, but we’re also not afraid to say stuff like “Julio Lugo sucks at leading off” or “Joel Pineiro should be pitching in Pawtucket.”

    My point about Manny was he did not deserve to be on this list over some other guys like Dunn because of the reasons I mentioned. And contrary to your clueless response, playing well at your home park, making home run-saving catches in hostile territory, hustling and practicing your position doesn’t mean you’re the best or most talented defender, it just means you’re not the worst.

    My advice to you: don’t make snap judgements about people you don’t know, don’t
    knock an entire Nation for having the best team in baseball, and don’t enter a battle of quips as an unqualified opponent.

    P.S.: We could give two shits if you “bow down & respect our team” or not. They’re still going to the series, so how you feel about it means nothing to us.

  31. Joel says:

    Guillen was stuck at first for the playoffs because Casey was injured, Shelton wasn’t eligible for the postseason, they had some depth at SS (if you can consider Neifi Perez an element of depth), and he had played the position at the World Baseball Classic. That said, Guillen is a pretty bad defensive SS, and I wish we could shift him over to 1st…

  32. Jim says:

    I gotta go with Vlad as a Lead-Glove right fielder. He’s still living off the reputation of his cannon arm. It’s strong, but there’s no telling where the hell it’s going. I have also NEVER seen a major league outfielder clank so many routine fly balls. Thank God he can RAKE though.

  33. hay says:

    Who is this Shea “Hildenbrand” you refer to?

  34. Dee-Lo Brown says:

    Michael Barrett should get the award not because Victor Martinez isn’t awful but because when Mark Prior (R.I.P. you large vagina), Greg Maddux, Carlos Zambrano, and (in a matter of time) Rich Hill don’t want you to be catching when it’s their turn it’s probably not because they feel awkward looking at you giant mole.

    Hilarious list though, and just look at the anger stewing in the ‘Nations’ belly. It’s like someone just force-fed you a box full of laxatives.

  35. jrm78 says:

    Here’s another vote for Michael Barrett at catcher. You’ll be hard pressed to find a catcher who allows a runner to steal two bases on consecutive pitches without attempting a throw. And these weren’t the empty-net, two-out in the ninth down by 10 defensive indifference variety steals, but in the middle innings of a close game letting the go-ahead run get to third uncontested variety steals. More recently he dropped a rare on-target throw from also-mysteriously-omitted lead glover Jacques Jones.

    Which brings me to Jacques. How could he not be listed when any throw attempted by the guy either goes into the grass 10 feet in front of him and three-hops to the cut-off man, or it flies over the head of everybody 30 feet up the baseline and ends up a souvenir in the third base stands? He’s the human juggs machine with his wildly unpredictable throws.

  36. SSMB says:

    Getting in a “battle of quips” on the internet is like running a race in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you’re still retarded.

  37. Todd says:

    As a fervent Reds fan, having Dunn as only honorable mention is not forgiveable. He is terrible. The funny thing is he can’t move to first because he is more brutal than the “Meat Hook” over at first – misses foul pop ups. Just an awful baseball player. A catcher that should be mentioned is David Ross as well. Although pretty proficient at throwing runners out, never have I seen more unexcusable passed balls. In addition – I think he is yet to tag a runner out at home this year. Plenty of throws have been on line, but he drops nearly everyone. A catcher that cant catch is fairly ironic. He looks like the guy you stick behind the dish in beer league softball because no one else wants to play back there. Just awful.

  38. ktrain says:

    i’m a red sox fan and i thought the part about manny was hilarious. he’s entertaining to watch in left field and as soon as his hitting picks up, i’ll be able to enjoy his bumbling more.

    it’s pena who drives me crazy. he flubs the most routine stuff. i see him out there and i think “doink”, as in the sound effect for a ball bouncing off his head or out of his glove.

  39. J Rose says:

    re: SSMB

    Spoken like a true Gold Medalist.

    Kudos, retahd! (That’s how we say “retarded” in the Nation, in case you needed any help dechiphering it)

    Todd, maybe you can help settle the debate between me and every BoSox basher on this thread:

    Is Dunn a worse fielder than Manny?

    I think I can tell by your answer, but I just wanted some of these haters to hear it from someone other than a biased, bitter, self-important, retarded Red Sox fan.

  40. Richard Gadsden says:

    Where is Craig Biggio?

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