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There has been much gnashing of teeth here over the signing of Neifi Perez to a two-year deal.

A few points:

  • The open free-agent period hasn't even begun yet. It doesn't start till Friday. PATIENCE!
  • I believe Perez is a useful backup. Do not assume that just because he's on the roster, Dusty will knee-jerk start him. Jim Hendry knows this. Jim Hendry is going to go out and get better players to start ahead of Neifi, and the first one will likely be Rafael Furcal, and perhaps as soon as this weekend.
That said, there are some interesting numbers on Neifi that came my way today via Lee Sinins' Around The Majors report (you can subscribe here):
The only question for Perez is whether he gets enough playing time in 2006 to set the record for worst career RCAA or whether he has to wait until early 2007.
1    Ski Melillo           -355
2    Tommy Thevenow     -351
3    Neifi Perez                -329
4    Bill Bergen                -312
5    Tim Foli           -309
6    Larry Bowa                 -307
7    Alfredo Griffin    -306
T8   Don Kessinger              -305
T8   Ozzie Guillen              -305
10   Ed Brinkman                -300
In 2005, Perez set the major league record for most consecutive years with -20 or worse RCAA--
1    Neifi Perez       1998-05       8
2    Doug Flynn        1977-83    7
T3   Bill Bergen       1901-06    6
T3   George McBride    1911-16    6
T3   Wally Gerber            1919-24      6
T3   Rabbit Warstler   1932-37    6
T3   Hal Lanier        1965-70    6
T8   Tommy Corcoran    1902-06    5
T8   Everett Scott     1920-24    5
T8   Frank O'Rourke    1926-30    5
T8   Rabbit Maranville 1929-33    5
T8   Ski Melillo       1932-36    5
T8   Ed Brinkman       1963-67    5
T8   Alfredo Griffin   1980-84    5
T8   Andres Thomas           1986-90      5
If you don't already know, you can get an explanation of what RCAA means here.

There are some interesting names on those lists, including five current or former major league managers (Bowa, Kessinger, Guillen, Maranville, Lanier), and a well-respected coach (Griffin).

There is the value of having a Neifi Perez on your ballclub; no, I don't want him out there every day, but I do think he understands the game, is valuable to younger players (for instance, Furcal sees him as a mentor), and he may someday become a manager too. In fact, Ozzie Guillen's playing career wasn't all that different from Neifi's. And you can't argue with the results that Ozzie got in 2005.

I have said this so many times, it is almost a mantra, but it bears repeating here: there are things about winning baseball games that cannot be measured on a stat sheet. As long as Neifi Perez doesn't play every day, he brings some of those things to the teams he is on, and in that way, I want him on my ballclub.

And as for the rest of the offseason -- remember, it has only begun.