Warning: Pointlessness ahead.
(This started out as a comment in a defensive thread below, in response to Mark's thought that the Giants should have picked Perez over Ransom. Don't know if I disagree with that sentiment. But my comment ran way long, so I've made it a post instead.)
Once again, let me be clear: I don't hate Neifi. I hated the contract the Giants gave him, I hated that he got way too many at-bats, I hated that Alou for whatever crazy reason liked to bat him leadoff. Neifi is what Neifi is, no more, no less. If he's used as a backup infielder, no problem. But he wasn't.
If there's an argument for Neifi, it has to be the defense, right? I'd submit his reputation surpasses the reality these days. To justify the limp bat, he's got to be one of the top defensive players in the league. Is he?
I'm no stats guy, so please jump in and set me straight if I'm screwing this up.
First, shortstop. Looking at guys with significant innings at the position (more than 300), Perez was behind Bill Hall, Jack Wilson, Rafael Furcal, Kaz Matsui, Wilson Delgado, and Felipe Lopez, and slightly ahead of Royce Clayton in range factor. In ZR, it's worse, with Adam Everett, Cesar Izturis, Jose Vizcaino, Ramon Martinez, Alex Gonzalez, Wilson, Jimmy Rollins, Edgar Renteria, Delgado, Khalil Greene, Orlando Cabrera, and Craig Counsell ahead of him. Let's try fielding percentage now. Deep breath: Larkin, Clayton, Rollins, Izturis, Cabrera, Renteria, Counsell, Garciaparra, Deivi Cruz, Wilson, Martinez, and Everett.
OK forget shortstop then. Let's try second instead. He does much better here (300 innings minimum, which he barely makes). Neifi is first in fielding percentage, tied with Placido Polanco and Jamey Carroll. In range factor, he's first by a wide margin over the second-place guy, Aaron Miles. It falls apart a bit in ZR, where he trails Jose Reyes, Chase Utley, Luis Castillo, Mark Grudzielanek, Matt Kata, Nick Green, Scott Hairston, D'Angelo Jimenez, Mark Loretta, Aaron Miles, Marcus Giles, Jeff Kent, Junior Spivey, Tony Womack, Alex Cora, and Todd Walker.
Not all those guys above are better than Perez. Some are. I'm not saying he's a bad defensive player. But he's nowhere near the premiere guy at either position. (I would say he could be if he didn't hot dog it so much with his arm and just threw guys out by the three steps they should be instead of trying to time it just right.)
All that being said, should the Giants have kept him and dumped Ransom? (I was never a Ransom fan, either, even before Saturday. Ask the poor souls who sit near me in Section 105.) I don't know. Flip a coin, you can't be too far off.
CLARIFICATION 10/14: In the shortstop listing, I had neglected to mention that the first comparison was using range factor.