The Worst Season In Recent History

Man, having total win value numbers on the site is fun. The things you can find are endless. For instance, did you know that in 2002, Neifi Perez was worth 3.5 wins less than a replacement level player. Three and a half wins! Seriously, check it out.

The Royals made him their everyday shortstop and gave him 585 plate appearances. He rewarded them with a .236/.260/.303 line, which translates to a .243 wOBA, or 40 runs below an average hitter in that season. That’s really bad.

Of course, the Royals were paying Perez for his glove, not his bat. Unfortunately, he wasn’t too hot with that, either, posting a -12 UZR at shortstop and a -1.2 UZR at second base that season. He would have had to been Ozzie Smith with the glove to offset his horrendous offensive performance, but instead, he was more like Ozzie Canseco defensively, and that’s not a good combination.

Neifi Perez‘s performance in 2002 cost the Royals three and a half wins beyond just what fielding a league minimum, Triple-A shortstop instead. The going per-win rate in 2002 was $2.6 million, so Neifi Perez‘s value was a staggering negative nine million. Oh, and the Royals paid him $4.1 million that year. Total loss – $13 million.

The Royals had a $47 million payroll in 2002. By employing Neifi Perez, they lowered their effective payroll to $34 million, because by having Perez on the roster, they needed to allocate $13 million just to get back to zero.

That’s a bad season right there.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Erik Hahmann

Joe Posnanski has expounded many thousands of words of the futility of Perez in a Royal uniform. It’s pretty sad.