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 a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

13 Responses to “The Worst Season In Recent History”

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  1. Erik Hahmann says:

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

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  2. Bill B. says:

    I saw the title in my RSS feed, and I was thinking, “Why would FanGraphs write about the Detroit Lions?”

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  3. MPC says:

    Boy, steroids sure do make you better at baseball, don’t they?

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  4. Erik says:

    Perez was suspended for AMPHETAMINE use, not steroids. It’s amazing how often I’m seeing players that were suspended for amphetamines being referred to as roiders.

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  5. Zach says:

    I was hoping you were going to come around to Jeff Francoeur somewhere because that’s what this reminds me of. He cost the Braves $7 million in 2008 just by being on the field in the place of a league minimum player. And people still want to give this guy another shot?? Since Perez in 2002, his season is the worst with the exception of an aging Bernie Williams in 2005.

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  6. drew says:

    Lets not forget the good deals the Royals made this last season like the signing of Jose Guillen. It looks like thats going to work out great.

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  7. kg says:

    How about Andruw Jones, circa 2008 (.505 OPS in ~240 PA)
    Value Wins: -0.4
    Dollars: -1.6M
    Salary: 14.7M

    so, he was worth 16.3 million less than what he was paid???

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  8. Evan says:

    Geez, Dave, you’re going to make Rany Jazayerli shoot himself.

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  9. Greg says:

    Perez’s profile now says that he was -3.1 wins in 2002, as opposed to -3.5. What happened?

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  10. Greg says:

    Ah, of course! Double plays! Just found where they were added to Fangraphs’ UZR. And so .4 wins of Perez’s historical reputation was salvaged.

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  11. gnomez says:

    I wonder how much of his terrible defense is due to UZR variability. The supposedly Cansecoesque year is wedged between two seasons when he was worth +13 and +12 runs on defense, and Perez generally had a good defensive reputation.

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