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Former Brewers Who Can Catch the Ball

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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.