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.
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 -300In 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
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.