ST. PETERSBURG — Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson got an unexpected award Tuesday, co-winner of the American League Gold Glove. Of less surprise, pitcher James Shields and catcher Jose Molina are set to have their options picked up.
Hellickson said he hadn't even thought about the Gold Glove until getting word that he won, sharing the honor, voted by coaches and managers, with Chicago's Jake Peavy.
"It still hasn't set in," Hellickson said. "I'd much rather have been playing this last month, but this is a pretty cool award to win."
Even more so given the emphasis the Rays put on defense, even for the pitchers, with a Gold Glove mounted in their clubhouse.
"Our team as a whole takes pride in our defense, so it's an awesome award to win," Hellickson said. "Especially how hard we work on our defense and how much time we put into it."
Hellickson, the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year, is the fourth Ray to win a Gold Glove award, following Carlos Peña (2008, first base); Evan Longoria (2009-10, third base); and Carl Crawford (2010, outfield). Leftfielder Desmond Jennings was also a finalist but lost out to Kansas City's Alex Gordon.
Not that there was much question, but the Rays have already informed Shields, who was 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA, that they are picking up his $10.25 million option. Less certain is whether he will remain with the team, as he is expected to be a popular subject of trade talk.
There was more of a decision on the $1.8 million option for Molina, who didn't do much offensively, hitting .223 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 102 games, but earned praise for his work behind the plate. At the least, the Rays' decision gives them a capable backup.
The Rays still have to act on options for closer Fernando Rodney, an obvious yes at $2.5 million, and DH Luke Scott, unlikely at $6 million. Official announcements are coming by Friday.
Marc Topkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.