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MLB offseason off and running

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - You have to hand it to Major League Baseball. It does not have much on the NFL, but when it comes to the offseason, there is not another sport that even comes close to generating the kind of excitement that baseball does.

The general managers meetings are taking place in Dana Point, California as we speak, big name free agents have already filed, options have been picked up, options have been declined, trades involving some big names are being discussed, managerial and GM vacancies are being filled, and we are only just a week removed from the Philadelphia Phillies winning the World Series.

Nothing usually comes out of the GM meetings, as they generally serve as a precursor to the main event - The Winter Meetings, which will take place this year at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from December 8-11.

Although the GM meetings are normally nothing more than a start to some dialogue between interested parties, there has been some news that has come from these meetings in the past. Perhaps the move of the offseason occurred at last year's meetings, as Houston dealt closer Brad Lidge to Philadelphia.

Don't be surprised if San Diego trades Jake Peavy before the week is out. Supposedly the Padres have narrowed their list to three NL teams, one of them likely being Atlanta, which will speak with San Diego GM Kevin Towers at some point this week.

There have already been 158 players to file for free agency, and we will likely have dozens more added to the list before the November 13 deadline. Next week we will take a look at some of the higher-profile free agents, as teams begin to negotiate.

But, in the meantime, let's review a couple of other newsworthy items from this past week:

IS JETER THE WORST DEFENSIVE PLAYER IN BASEBALL?

Every offseason a story comes out about how New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is overrated, overpaid or, in this case, the worst fielder in the game.

Baseball's resident stat geek Bill James has come out with his Fielding Bible for this year, and in it one of his nine Dungeons-and-Dragons-playing compatriots on the nine-person panel labeled the two-time Gold Glove Award winner "the least effective defensive player in the major leagues, at any position."

While I have always been on board the "Jeter is overrated" bandwagon, James' cronies at Baseball Info Solutions are way off on this one.

First of all, Jeter is listed as the 22nd worst fielding shortstop. That's fine, he has never been confused with Ozzie Smith, but the last time I checked there were 30 big league teams. So wouldn't that mean that there are eight worse than Jeter?

I am sure James and his BIS cronies have some weird formula that puts 22 worse than 30, but I can't seem to find it.

I don't have the time to watch film of every major-league game, and record every ball off the bat by the direction in which it was hit (the vector), the type of hit [groundball, flyball, line-drive, popup, etc.) and by how hard the ball was hit (softly hit, medium, hard hit), like the BIS boys apparently do. I know this, though, few shortstops make a play in the hole better than Jeter does.

It's lame to knock Jeter at this point. It sounds like someone is trying to sell a book, and needed a catchy headline.

AMARO JR. FINALLY GETS A CHANCE

Good things come to those who wait. Such is the case for Ruben Amaro Jr., who has finally gotten his chance to become the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, succeeding Pat Gillick.

Gillick, though, will stay on with the Phillies in an advisory role. .

Of course, Amaro inherits a world champion, but he will have his work cut out for him, as he tries to work on long-term deals for Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels while trying to find a replacement for Pat Burrell, who will likely leave via free agency, and adding another starter.

The Phils have been one of the teams mentioned in the Manny Ramirez sweepstakes, given his relationship with manager Charlie Manuel. I have to think that's a long shot at best, but look for the Phils to add a big outfield bat should Burrell walk.

Raul Ibanez or Milton Bradley could be a fit.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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