THE NEIFI ERA
It gives me great joy that Neifi Perez is no longer a member of the Cubs.
Let’s get this out of the way: he was versatile, a solid defender and his teammates liked him. Hooray.
Through no fault of his own he stood in the way of the development of several Cubs. He simply couldn’t play himself out of the lineup no matter how bad he was. And he was very bad. He was just abysmal at the plate. He had all of 5 walks in 236 ABs this year. His average was .254; his OBP .266. He takes to the plate with him the antithesis of solid strategy. Hack and hack some more.
My favorite moment of the Neifi era was when he bunted in the 9th inning against the Nats earlier this season. That doesn’t sound all that bad until I add that there were runners on base and 2 outs. He bunted into the final out of the game. With runners on base. I’ve never seen that before and doubt we will see it again.
It was written about here on The Zoner. I posted a great take on it from Federal Baseball, which they titled “Thank You, Neifi“.
Here are the highlights:
The batter, Neifi Perez, bunted the very next pitch right back to Cordero, who successfully excuted the throw to first and closed out the victory. Yes, Perez bunted into the last out.
Now, Perez is a severely limited threat at the plate. I recall listening to a spring training game last March, Cubs vs. Royals, with XM picking up the Kansas City feed. The Royals’ announcers were brutal whenever Neifi came to the plate. At one point, Perez popped to second, and longtime play-by-play man, the type of guy you imagine would be a slow but kindly golfer who lets you play through on a Saturday morning outing, sarcastically spitted, “Hey, we’ve never seen that before.”
Perez is a plainly horrible offensive player.
Still, bunting into the final out of the game is . . . sheesh, a special kind of giving up. Sure, Otis Nixon did it—badly—in the sixth game of the ’92 World Series (bunting into the final out), but at least Nixon was blazing fast and could have made it to first on a reasonably well-placed bunt. Perez doesn’t even have much speed.
Imagine Mark Brunell trying to execute the two-minute drill throwing right-handed; imagine Chris Dudley trying to drop-kick free throws; imagine Robert E. Lee leading monkeys on roller skates into battle. That’s about what Neifi Perez did yesterday, only the others would have had a bit more justification. What Neifi did, especially given the situation, rhymes with quicken-spit.
See you Neifi. I told you every year from my super-close seats at Wrigley that a walk is not an out, but you never listened.