He’s not only terrible in Detroit, Jim


Neifi Perez may be the worst player in the Majors who continues to get regular at bats. Just look at his Baseball Reference page. The guy has gotten at least 300 at bats in every season from 1997 on, and has a career-high OBP of .333–in 1997! He hasn’t OBP’d over .300 since splitting time with Colorado and Kansas City in 2001. In 2002, in his 585 plate appearances for the Royals, he made an out 74 percent of the time. They’re thanking their lucky stars they have a DH in the AL, because if not, they would have had two pitchers hitting.

In 2004, the Giants finally had enough of his .276 OBP and .295 SLG and released him in August. That, I think, is where the trouble began. The Cubs picked him up, and by some fluke he lit it up for the remainder of the season. But, because Dusty Baker doesn’t understand the concept of sample size, he thought Neifi was truly that good and awarded him the starting second baseman job for the Cubs in 2005. His numbers. .274/.298/.383 over 572 at bats, making him easily the worst regular in the Majors.

Normally, I find Dave Dombrowski to be an intelligent guy. He built the Florida Marlins into a championship team, and is on a path to do the same in Detroit. However, his trade for Perez in 2006 has to rank among the worst moves by a smart GM ever. They would have been better calling up John Schmuck from the AAA team.

Jim Leyland is no dummy, though. He’s starting to see the big picture: he admits that Neifi “played terrible” in Detroit. Now, if only he could connect the dots further and see that Neifi was terrible everywhere he played.

The final quote in the article, though, demonstrates why Jim Leyland is smarter than Dusty Baker:

“I recommended that we trade for him. I take responsibility. I don’t want people to get the wrong impression. I like Neifi Perez, but he did not perform well. It’s that simple.”

Dusty liked Neifi, and refused to see his poor performance. Leyland likes Neifi, and acknowledges that he played terribly. All won’t be lost for Perez if he’s cut during Spring Training, though. Jim Bowden is always looking for guys who will take value away from his team.

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