In a signing that could be a precursor to a trade of an outfielder, the Colorado Rockies have signed speedy outfielder Gerardo Parra to a three-year, $27.5 million deal, according to Jon Heyman.
Per Wilmer Reina of Diario la Verdad, Parra’s deal contains a $12 million club option for a fourth year. That option also comes with a $1.5 million buyout. If the option is picked up for the 2019 campaign, the total value of Parra’s contract could rise to four years, $39.5 million.
Parra confirmed the signing himself via Twitter.
— Gerardo Parra (@88_gparra) January 12, 2016
This is the Orioles’ second big loss of the day as left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen signed a five-year, $80 million deal with the Marlins on Tuesday. That leaves slugger Chris Davis as the team’s lone significant free agent on the market.
Parra, 28, is coming off the best offensive season of his seven-year career as he split time with the Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore Orioles. Through 100 games with the Brewers, Parra hit a robust.328 with nine HR and 31 RBI. After a deadline trade brought him to the Orioles, Parra started off well, but his production dropped significantly as he hit just.237 with five HR and 20 RBI through 55 games.
Despite his struggles, Parra told the Baltimore Sun in late September that he enjoyed playing with the Orioles, teasing that a reunion could be a possibility.
“For sure. I like the fans. I like the team. I like the players. I like everything about here. It’s a great team and all the people are good to me.”
Combined, Parra finished 2015 a.291 hitter with 14 HR and 51 RBI. The batting average was just one point below his career-best.292 posted in 2011 and the HR and RBI totals were career highs.
While Parra is not known for posting prolific offensive numbers, he’s been a solid producer with the bat since his debut in 2009 nonetheless. For his career, Parra owns a.277 batting average with 56 HR and 311 RBI between the Arizona Diamondbacks, Brewers, and Orioles.
The one misleading part about Parra’s offensive repertoire is his speed as he’s stolen only 69 bases during his career and never more than 15 in a single season.
The speed has allowed Parra to be considered one of MLB’s best defensive outfielders, but FanGraphs’ estimates have shown Parra’s defense to have regressed the last two seasons. After posting unreal defensive metrics in 2013 in both Defensive Runs Saved (+41) and UZR/150 (+29.5), Parra’s metrics have dropped into the negatives in both 2014 and 2015.
With Parra onboard, the Rockies are likely to finally deal from their surplus of outfielders.
The team currently has slugger Carlos Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson, and Charlie Blackmon on its roster. At 30-years-old, Gonzalez is the more established player out of the three, but also the oldest of the bunch. However, “Car-Go” enjoyed his best season since winning the National League batting title in 2010 (.336) as he swatted 40 HR and drove in 97 runs in 2015.
Gonzalez is under contract for two more seasons and is set to make $17 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2017.
Blackmon, 29, has been a productive hitter for the Rockies the past two seasons — his only full seasons since debuting in 2011. In 2015, Blackmon hit.287 with 17 HR and 58 RBI. Those totals were similar to his 2014 — a year in which he made his first All-Star team — as he hit.288 with 19 HR and 72.
The bearded outfielder is under team control for three more years.
Finally, the 26-year-old Dickerson is the youngest of the three outfielders and carries the least experience. Both 2013 and 2015 were injury-shortened for Dickerson, but he was a.312 hitter with six HR and 24 RBI through 131 games in 2014.
Dickerson comes with the longest team control as he will not hit free agency until 2020 at the earliest.
[Featured Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images]