RUBEN AMARO JR. is right. Moving Chase Utley to third base so Freddy Galvis can play second will improve the Phillies in 2013.

He just can't prove it.

That's not his fault. Really, it's the system, or the lack of one. There are a stifling number of statistics in baseball these days, and yet no one has come close to quantifying the impact a good defense has on a team. We see it, we know it, but when we debate about building champions and repairing them, we tend to sound like Billy Beane's sidekick in "Moneyball."

We have been forced to learn - or at least be aware of - the countless offensive statistics at our disposal. Dissecting batting average and power numbers has become almost a national obsession over the decades of my adulthood. While some may argue they are overvalued, secondary offensive statistics such as OBP (on-base percentage) or OPS (on-base plus slugging) have become acceptable methods of measuring a player's offensive prowess.

They, and statistics like them, are at the crux of every player-value argument. Do you want Michael Bourn and his .274 average, nine home runs, 25 doubles, 39 stolen bases, 93 runs scored, and his .737 OPS as your centerfielder next season? Even with his 151 strikeouts against 67 walks?

Or do you want Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton and his .250 average, 26 home runs, 27 doubles, 30 stolen bases, 74 runs scored, 74 RBI, .760 OPS - and 157 strikeouts against 43 walks?

"To me when I sit down and watch guys play, I watch hitters against great pitching," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was saying after Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Braves helped punctuate the end of this uneven and uneasy season. "When I look at the matchup sheet and I see guys who hit real good against good pitchers, that definitely jumps out at me. And if I see numbers, of course 85 to 100 RBIs out of a corner outfielder, those numbers jump out at me.

"I'm talking about prototype players who will supply enough run production to actually give you a chance to win your division and give you a chance to win the World Series. I look at the Yankees and I look at that lineup and there's a couple of them in there hitting .230, .240, but when you look up they've got 100 RBIs. They've got 30 homers. That's run production. You can live with a guy's average if they do that. Run production is what it's all about."

Whomever you prefer, the strength of Upton's arm and lack of strength of Bourn's is not likely to impact the argument. Not much, anyway.

Unless you are one of those baseball guys, the kind of guys skewered in the book and movie, "Moneyball." Guys paid to watch players, guys paid to understand minds.

As I watched Pat Gillick walk across the field just before the game began Sunday, I couldn't help thinking about the fine line between fielding a team capable of winning a championship and fielding one that only looks that way on paper.

Baseball is a game of imperfection. But the one facet you can control is the part about catching the ball. Gillick got that in Philadelphia and he got that in Toronto, and he got that in Seattle and Baltimore. He used his eyes as well as all the numbers available to him. Guys like him seem to be disappearing.

On Sunday, John Mayberry Jr., the Phillies' centerfielder since they traded Gold Glover Shane Victorino in late July, got a late jump on a ball that resulted - after he fumbled it at the fence - in a runner on second. Mayberry doesn't always read balls well and plays deeper than Victorino did.

Reed Johnson's slow roller that squeezed through the middle of the diamond in the third inning is also a play we saw Galvis make several times over the first 2 months of the season.

These are plays not measured in any comprehensible statistics, although those scripting for something called "The Fielding Bible" have given it an honest effort. But all baserunners do not have the same speed, guts or baseball IQ. Strength of arm is not just about putouts, but by a lack of attempts to run on that arm. They have tried to measure range, but these are not dynamic or even easily understandable stats.

The good news for you people is that Amaro, whose resume is still without a championship and thus incomplete, seems to get it, too.

I can't tell you how many runs will be saved in moving Utley to third and having Galvis at second for a season.

But my eyes can tell he's right for doing it.