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The Franchise Floor: The worst players in Royals history

You've seen the best, now read about the worst.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The legends were on display last night at Kauffman Stadium as Kansas City rolled out its Franchise Four members for the home crowd. Highlight packages and nostalgia were overstocked as the Royals paid tribute to four of the most iconic players to ever wear the uniform.

On the flip side, there are those that the fans would rather forget than remember. But, Royals Review is, if anything, a place you come to for snark and group therapy. So gather 'round your computer monitors, and resist the temptation to put your fist through the liquid crystal display. This, is the Franchise Floor.

4. Jose Guillen (2008-2010)

Royals statistics: 340 G, .256/.308/.420, -2.9 fWAR

In 2007, Guillen was a more than cromulent hitter. He hit 23 home runs for Seattle with 99 RBI and 84 runs scored. His wRC+ of 117 would have easily led the Royals (min. 200 PAs) that year, as only Billy Butler (105) and Mark Grudzielanek (102) managed triple digits, though sweet swingin' Mark Teahen (99) was a rounding error away.

After a down year with the Nationals and the aforementioned resurgence with Seattle, Dayton Moore thought he was getting a power hitter to plug into the middle of his lineup, and in the winter prior to the 2008 season he shelled out three years and $36 million to acquire him.

The next two seasons were dismal for a lot of reasons, but very few things typify Royals baseball in the latter half of the 2000's than a slow, limping Guillen trotting around the outfield. To say his defense was bad would be an understatement; he "earned" -45.0 Runs in his time with the Royals. If you were around to see it, you might even think that he is getting lowballed on that figure.

Offensively, things weren't great either. He hit 20 home runs with 97 RBI in 2008, but it was lifeless and empty. His .264/.300/.438 slash was good for a 90 wRC+, but he ended his first year at -0.9 fWAR. Somehow, 2009 was worse, as Guillen was worth -2.2 fWAR in just 81 games.

He managed to hit well enough in 2010 to get traded to the Giants, where he promptly collapsed.

3. Yuniesky Betancourt (2009-2010, 2012)

Royals statistics: 279 G, .248/.276/.395, -2.3 fWAR

It was rumored that the Royals were interested in Betancourt a while before they acquired him. The most scurrilous of rumors was that at one point, Dayton Moore had offered Billy Butler for the "shortstop," whose range was roughly the equivalent of a snowman on roller skates.

In 2009, Dayton Moore finally pulled the trigger on acquiring Betancourt, sending Derrick Saito and Dan Cortes to the Mariners for the personification of Nudar. For his part, Saito only pitched in sixteen minor league games for the Mariners before dropping out of professional baseball. It turns out that he is now a structural engineer with a LinkedIn page and everything. Dan Cortes pitched fifteen innings over two seasons with the Mariners.

And yet they somehow still won the trade. Cortes' -0.1 fWAR far outstripped Betancourt's -2.3, and aside from a replacement-level 2010 when he hit 16 home runs (and tied for the team lead with 78 RBI), it was a regulation bad trade that ended in regulation disappointment.

And then they re-signed him.

After making Betancourt a part of the Zack Greinke trade to the Brewers, the Royals re-signed him in 2012 so he could provide more negative value for the team. As bad as Jose Guillen was, no one ever said, "Hey, let's do that again!" It was a glorious time to be a baseball fan in Kansas City. He also happens to have the most perfect anagram of any player in major league history: Batter Nine You Sucky.

2. Neifi Perez (2001-2002)

Royals statistics: 194 G, .238/.265/.303, -3.2 fWAR

Remembered as much for his obviously poor performance as he is for being Not Jermaine Dye, Perez was the single player returned to Kansas City in a three-team trade that had Kansas City send Dye, who had been with the team since 1997, to the Oakland Athletics, who sent three prospects to Colorado for the shortstop.

At the time of the trade, Perez was hitting .298/.326/.445 for the Rockies, which was only good for a wRC+ of 78 in the rarefied air of Colorado ( not to mention the offensive climate of the Steroid Era). For the rest of the season, Perez hit .241/.277/.302, for a 44 wRC+.

And as always, it got worse from there.

2002 was an interesting year for the Royals. Interesting in that there were a lot of position players to like: Carlos Beltran, Mike Sweeney, Raul Ibanez, Joe Randa. It was the Year of the Byrd, as Paul Byrd's throwback delivery and ridiculously absurd run support carried him to a 17-11 record. Roberto Hernandez was our Proven Closer. Jeremy Affeldt debuted. Miguel Asencio was a thing, as was Shawn Sedlacek.

And then there was Neifi. Good old Neifi. His name sounds like a guttural iterance when you are choking. Neifi. Neifi.

Anyway, the Royals weren't good, mostly because all of those pitching guys were pretty terrible (they used 26 of them). But none could hold a candle to the historibad season that Neifi Perez inflicted on fans. His .236/.260/.303 line was good for a 39 wRC+, making him the worst qualified hitter in baseball (by a fair margin as well, over Juan Uribe's 46). To put it in perspective, Barry Bonds wRC+ that season was 244.

The Royals waived him in the off-season, and the following year they had their first winning record in over a decade. Coincidence?

1. Dee Brown (1998-2004)

Royals statistics: 263 G, .234/.281/.334, -4.1 fWAR

I rooted for Dee Brown. I pined for Dee Brown. During the doldrums of the early 2000s, I remember myself saying, "Why don't they play Dee Brown more?"

He was the Royals first pick in the 1996 draft, taken #14 overall out of Marlboro Central High School (I'm guessing their mascot is the Cowboys...{looks up mascot} Nope. It is way cooler than that). He made his pro debut as a twenty year-old in 1998, and became a regular in 2001 when his playing time peaked at 406 plate appearances.

It wasn't good, though. He hit .245/.286/.350 that season. The power never really showed up, and the defense was surprisingly mediocre given his athletic ability. He was worse in 2003 and 2004. He struck out a lot, and didn't walk, and he did all of this in parts of seven seasons. He never posted a season above 0.0 fWAR with Kansas City.

The problem with Brown is that there isn't anything around him to be frustrated about. He wasn't a trade acquisition that went sour or a bad free agent signing. He was an organizational guy start to finish, and though he bounced around the league through the minors and ended up in Japan, he was never given a real opportunity at the major league level again. Dee Brown's worst offense was being so mediocre on decidedly bad teams that no one even remembers how bad he was. Long-term mediocrity is the most insipid form because you get used to the failure.

In that way, Brown is a representative for the Royals organization as a whole, whose long-term failings were so thorough and remarkable that the worst player in organizational history went unnoticed for so long. I always wanted more from Brown, but really I just wanted more from the team I love.