Tim at MLB Trade Rumors has just read The Fielding Bible, and reports on some of the best defensive free agents. There are no Brewers on the list, but a couple of exes, including Craig Counsell.
The shock, though, is Carlos Lee. Tim notes:
Yes, I am surprised. I don't doubt that Lee is better than Kevin Mench, probably better than John Vander Wal, too. But, is this really possible? Visually, he often looks like a disaster. I've seen him take awful routes to balls and not catch up to things he looks like he should reach.
However, let's remember that Caballo is a smart ballplayer. He's always stolen bases at a very high percentage, despite not appearing to be very fast. Maybe he's very good at positioning himself; maybe he has a great first step...who knows. I'd always noticed that, even when he lumbered after a double into the gap and looked dreadful doing it, batters rarely got an extra base off of him. Once I even speculated that, on plays like that, he purposely looked bad so that he could gun guys down the next time, if they tried to take advantage of him.
Lee, I think, will still be overpaid when all is said and done, whether by the Astros, the Cubs, or somebody else. The defense helps, but Carlos just doesn't have the $15 million bat that teams will be bidding on this offseason.