- Doug Mittler, Rumor Central
MLB execs claim to value defense, yet the big contracts, like Miguel Cabrera's $292M deal, routinely go to sluggers, not glovemen. Last year Cabrera had the worst Ultimate Zone Rating -- a metric that measures how many runs a player saved through his fielding -- among all qualifying third basemen. No matter. Says Mets GM Sandy Alderson, "The market is established by offense because defensive numbers are difficult to ascertain." But that's changing. Stats like UZR are gaining traction, and this season MLB is debuting technology that tracks every defensive play in glorious, granular detail. By 2015, the system will be in every MLB park. Until then, catch these defensive bargains.
In ESPN The Magazine's Money Issue, Doug Mittler writes that as new defensive metrics gain relevance in MLB, bargain players like Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra won't be underpaid for long.