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January 15th

Over at Amazin’ Avenue, one of the writers argued that the Marlins improved its team as much as the high spending Mets while slashing payroll in the process. While the Mets spent millions upgrading its bullpen, the Marlins traded away high cost (for the Marlins) poor defenders and realigned its defensive lineup in order to improved its Runs Against average.

One of the most unappreciated aspects of baseball among baseball fans is defense. I found that in order to appreciate defense, one must be present at a game. It’s something that cannot be caught on television. One of the metrics more hardcore fans use to rate a player is “wins”. Unlike the win-loss column, wins apply to all players. Basically, there are many ways wins are measured, but the total number of wins in a team equals their projected record.

So the writer argues the number of wins gained replacing Aaron Heilman with JJ Putz is likely the number of wins lost replacing Endy Chavez with Jeremy Reed. Because Chavez is an exceptional fielder but average hitter while Reed is neither a good fielder nor hitter.

At the same time, the Marlins trading Jacobs and shifting Cantu to 1B, Hanley Ramirez to 3rd, and Amezaga to SS more than makes up the loss of Jacobs’ offense.

Of course, these are all projections, and they don’t mean anything once the season begins. That why its fun to argue about these intricacies in the off-season.

At the same time, fantasy baseball, which for the most part is all about offense and pitching. While team defense have an impact on how pitchers will do, in respect of their win-loss, ERA, and saves column, it doesn’t matter in fantasy whether one is an exceptional fielder. It only matters at the plate and on the mound.

As a result, after winning my first fantasy championship, the more I get into baseball, the more poorly I do in fantasy baseball. I can’t bring myself to draft players like Ryan Braun, Raul Ibanez, and Adam Dunn because of their lousy outfield play.

Nonetheless, it’s one of the few sports, along with college football, that the off season is as interesting as the actual season. That’s why I’m nuts about it.

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