Sports Outside the Beltway

Perez and Merloni: Why?

So the A’s just came to terms with two of the more worthless players in baseball.

Antonio Perez is worthless as an offensive player, at least in his current state of affairs. In 2006 Perez, as you may recall with horror, had one of the worst offensive seasons in the long and sometimes inglorious history of the game.

Perez hit .102, and actually contributed more to the success of the team as a pinch-runner, filling that role 18 times last season. He kept Frank Thomas off of the basepaths late in the game, likely helping the Big Payday Hurt stay healthy enough to leave for Toronto power Oakland’s offense.

Perez will probably fill some of the same roles he did in 2006, as a pinch-runner and occasional infield replacement, but Oakland has to be hoping he can find his 2005 form, instead of, well, whatever you’d call his “performance” last year.

As for Lou Merloni, I don’t like this deal for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he’s a 36 year old infielder who strikes out almost three times as much as he walks, and his career slugging percentage is, brace yourselves… 16 points less than Jason Kendall’s. At least it’s just a non-roster Spring Training deal.

The other big reason I don’t like Merloni goes back to 2003, and one of the more classless displays I’ve ever seen in baseball. I’ll let this description by Sean McAdam of the Providence Journal explain:

… things got worse a few innings into the game when ESPN cameras showed four Sox players — Doug Mirabelli, Lou Merloni, Tim Wakefield and Adrian Brown — standing on the top step of the home dugout. On their jackets, spelled out with masking tape, was “Lilly,” — a reference to Oakland starter Ted Lilly — spelled out phonetically, an invitation to the fans in attendance to chant Lilly’s name in a mocking fashion.

“That’s bush league,” said a disgusted Red Sox official. “That’s something you might see in high school. Might.”

And yet, there it was, in a postseason playoff game, for the nation to see.

Call it holding a grudge, if you must, but Merloni is someone that I could do without having on the team I follow and cover. His “skills” won’t be missed on the field, and his class, or lack thereof, won’t be missed off of it.

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