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Former Brewers Who Can Catch the Ball

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:

Surprised, aren't you?  Dewan says: "Lee has a reputation as a poor defensive player, but that isn't deserved."  Everyone throws in a jab at Lee's defense and mentions how he'll have to DH soon enough.  But the fielding experts feel otherwise.

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.