Let's get down and funky with some statistics (I can dance to stats, you know), and really see who's better: the New Guys coming in, or the Old Bums going out.
We'll start with Neifi Perez, and Omar Vizquel.
Neifi Perez in 2004 (Giants only): .232/.276/.295, 21 bb/35 so in 319 ab's
Omar Vizquel in 2004: .291/.353/.388, 57 bb/62 so in 567 ab's
Okay, this is obviously no comparison. How Neifi was allowed to acquire over 300 at-bats while having the trifecta of sub .300 batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging is beyond me, but suffice it to say cutting bait on Neifi was necessary (he promptly went right over to the Cubs and posted a .948 OPS, of course, but that just proves how much of a bum Neifi was). As some of you may remember, though, Deivi Cruz did an admirable offensive job last year after Neifi left, so we'll throw in Deivi's statline as well...
Deivi Cruz in 2004: .292/.322/.431, 17 bb/32 so in 397 ab's
So, in essence, Cruz and Vizquel interchange offensively. Cruz has more pop, but Vizquel finds his way on base better than Deivi does. The on-base percentage advantage plays to Vizquel's base running abilities -- 19 steals last year, which of course about evens up the gap between the two in slugging. Defensively, however, is where Vizquel smokes Cruz -- Gold Gloves, especially in as high volume as Omar possesses, do not lie.
Well, where does that leave us? Either way you slice it, Vizquel is indeed an upgrade -- an offensive upgrade over Neifi, and a huge defensive upgrade over Cruz. The next question would be, was it worth paying Vizquel 12.25 million for these upgrades? If your team was the Pittsburgh Pirates, no -- but the Giants are likely to be in the top 10 in payroll again this year, so perhaps it's palatable for 2005. Nomar Garciaparra would've been nicer, though.