How does Neifi do it?
I mean, he's been playing quite a bit of baseball over the last bunch of seasons, despite being horrible, horrible...HORRIBLE!
While in Kansas City with the Royals, Neifi's horrible-ness was revealed. After running an OPS over 700 for about four seasons worth of at-bats (can you believe Neifi once hit 31 homers over three seasons?), the Royals traded for Perez, giving up Jermaine Dye in a menage-a-trade with the Colorado Rockies and the Oakland A's.
You don't trade for Neifi Perez, you end up with Neifi Perez.
After a part season and full season of below 600 OPS (and significant damage to my psyche), the Royals realized they goofed and didn't re-sign Neifi (though not until after he fleeced them for 4 million). Brian Sabean gave him a job as a utility infielder with the Giants, which wasn't all that bad of a move. Neifi can be an effective enough utility player, although he still can't hit his way out of a wet paper sack. His defense and infield versatility does have some limited value.
While in San Fransisco, he played more than his share by actually being half-useful with the bat for a few months. He was still horrible deep inside, but managed to hide it for a while, hitting around .290 or so in a part-time role. But time missed by Ray Durham and some poor play by Rich Aurilia got Neifi regular playing time, and then he ended up at his usual uselessness levels, ending with a .633 OPS in an undeserved 328 at-bats.
But, he's a useful kind utility guy, right? He can play 2nd, 3rd, and SS, and he was kinda hitting for just a little bit, right? I mean, I don't know if that's what Giants GM Brian Sabean was thinking, but it couldn't be that far off. Either that, or those 'shrooms were particularly potent that day he was thinking about who he wanted at SS for 2004.
After not re-signing Aurilia, Sabean let Neifi have the starting SS job, along with 1.5 how-the-heck-did-he-get-that million. And wonder of wonders, Neifi sucked at the plate (doing yet more damage to my psyche). He sucked so bad, even Sabean figured it out, but only after Perez amassed another undeserved 319 at-bats and threw up a nasty trifecta: sub-300 batting average, sub-300 on-base percentage, and sub-300 slugging percentage.
The Giants let Neifi go, where he promptly gained lawful employment with the Chicago Cubs, where he promptly put up an OPS of .948 in the 62 at-bats Dusty Baker gave him. Funny how Neifi all of a sudden can hit in hitter's parks, isn't it?
In any case, I suppose this little stint impressed the Cubs enough that they brought him back for 2005, and gave him another how-the-heck-did-he-get-that million dollars. And there Neifi is, ready to step in as Nomar Garciaparra injures his groin and goes out for 2-3 months.
Now, here we go again. Cubs GM Jim Hendry ought to be looking for other options to fill that SS hole instead of letting Neifi start there for 2-3 months, but guess what?
In 41 at-bats, Neifi's running a .317 batting average with a .748 OPS. Gee, what a surprise. Neifi all of a sudden is hitting in a hitter's ballpark. Gee, what a surpirse, when Neifi's usefullness is almost at an end, an opportunity to get more playing time arises, and he just happens to be hitting a little at the same time.
What, does he have mind control or something? And why did he have to be so horrible for both of my favorite teams?