(Not A) Trade Candidate: Gerardo Parra

The Diamondbacks' signing of Jason Kubel to a two-year contract was met with surprise and even some confusion from pundits.  Dave Cameron of Fangraphs described the move as "weird," arguing that Kubel was potentially only a minor upgrade over incumbent left fielder Gerardo Parra at the plate, and a major downgrade in terms of defense and baserunning.  Moreoever, it minimized Parra, whose Gold Glove-winning defense and steady bat played a key role in Arizona's 2011 NL West title.

So with Kubel, Chris Young and Justin Upton locked in as the D'Backs' starting outfield, does this mean Parra could be expendable?  Not at all; there's still reason to believe Parra will be a valuable player for Arizona both in 2012 and potentially for years to come.

Through three seasons in the Majors, Parra has provided both excellent defense (a career +9.5 UZR/150) all over the outfield and a solid bat against right-handed pitching (a .289/.337/.420 career line against righties).  In both 2010 and 2011, the left-handed hitting Parra posted a higher OPS against lefties than he did against righties, albeit in roughly a quarter of the plate appearances.

This progress against southpaws notwithstanding, the vast majority of Parra's 2012 at-bats will come against right-handers.  D'Backs GM Kevin Towers has already stated that Parra see action against certain tough right-handers spelling Upton and Young.  I'd say Parra is far more likely to spell the latter than the former, since Upton may be the cusp of superstardom and Young has more significant flaws in his game. 

After delivering stable splits (an .826 OPS vs. lefties, .781 vs. righties) in 2010 as part of a career-best .793 OPS season across the board, it seemed as if Young was finally finding some consistency to match his big power, speed and increasingly impressive glove.  Unfortunately for Young, he reverted to his old tricks in 2011 — he hit just .222/.312/.382 against right-handers, as compared to a mammoth .285/.392/.546 against lefties.  Arizona doesn't lose anything defensively or speed-wise by playing Parra over Young in what could develop into a regular center field platoon.

Parra doesn't turn 25 until May 6 and is under team control through 2015, which means he could be coming into his prime just as Young and Kubel's contracts are expiring.  Young is set to earn $15.5MM over the next two seasons, with a club option worth $11MM for 2014 (with a $1.5MM buyout), while Kubel's deal pays him $16MM over the next two seasons with a $7.5MM mutual option for 2014 ($1MM buyout).  Of the two, Young is the likelier to remain a D'Back since quality defensive center fielders with 30-homer power are a much rarer commodity than what Kubel brings to the table, but the presence of Parra and prospect A.J. Pollock gives the team lots of outfield flexibility in two years' time.  

The Diamondbacks' surprising playoff berth last season turned what was seemingly a rebuilding team into a win-now operation, as evidenced by Kubel's signing and the trade for Trevor Cahill.  While the club doesn't have the resources to just eat a $16MM contract if Kubel struggles, the D'Backs at least have a quality backup (or more) in Parra who provides too much value to trade.

18 Responses to (Not A) Trade Candidate: Gerardo Parra Leave a Reply

  1. Lastings 3 years ago

    Chris Young would make the most sense to be traded…

  2. young seems the most expandable. However, his stats have dipped a little so Parra would seem to have more value. I wonder if the tigers would be interested in Young or Parra for the DH/OF role. Both players can provide a little bit of power and the Dbacks probably wouldn’t mind adding an extra prospect or two after the cahill deal.

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      The Dbacks lost very little in the way of prospects in the Cahill deal. Esentially Cahill for Parker was a wash, but Cahill comes with MLB experience whereas Parker might still need a bit of seasoning. They traded in the “win now” philosophy of ading salary for the assurance of 200 IP of 3.50- 4.00 ERA over the question mark that would have been Parker, who likely tops out as a solid #2 inn another year or two.

      How “expendable” Young is will largely depend on how good or bad Kubel is in LF defensively. One of the easons the Dbacks can swallow a sub-par LF is that Young in CF makes LF all that much smaller an area to cover. Young’s horrible late-August/early-September last year seriously hurt his stat line. Some, not all, but probably a good portion of that was due to playing with a significant injury. Having Parra and Kubel both allows Gibson to take CY out of the lineup if he is hurt instead of having to/letting CY try to play through it. Once healthy again, CY started raking, and in the playoffs he was a beast.

  3. BrandonDbacks 3 years ago

    I love how our team is looking this year… can it be April already?

  4. DbacksAreBeast 3 years ago

     I really believe that we will go to the playoffs and win a World Series. Say what you want, its just my take on our core. This are some projections from my point of view…(if these players play the whole season)

    Catcher – Miguel Montero : I think he his a great catcher to have both offensively and defensively. I see him as are 5th spot hitter. He is a left hand hitter, so that’s highly valuable as well. My Projections : .274 Avg, 19 HR, 88 RBI, 0 SB

    1st Base – Paul Goldscmidt : Golllllllldscmidt!!!!! One of the league’s best young first baseman. Tons of upside, Tons of power. He had a great post-season hitting .438 with 2 home runs and 6 rbis in 4 games. I see the young rookie in his first whole season getting : .267 avg, 26 HR, 76 RBI, 5 SB.  

    2nd Base – Aaron Hill : One of The league’s best 2nd baseman hitter in 2009, hitting .286 with 36 Homers and 108 Runs batted in. Then in the 2011 season Hill finished with a miserable .246 avg, while hitting only 8 home runs and getting 61 rbis. But, the is still hope for the 29 year old as he enters his seventh season. Hopefully he can have a bounce back year and get around : .270 avg, 18 HR, 79 RBIs, 10 SB.

    Short Stop – Stephen Drew : ohh Stephen…please, please show the league what you can do with a full healthy season. My projections : .278 avg, 16 HR, 80 RBIs, 15 SB.

    3rd Base – Ryan Roberts : Everyone Knows that Tat-man’s breakout season was a fluke, look for the guy to do about this : .261 avg, 17 HR, 65 RBIs, 16 SB. 

    Left Field – Jason Kubel : The left handed power hitter needs a healthy bounce back year. I think he will finish with : .287 avg, 26 HR, 81 RBIs, 0 SB

    Center Field – Chris Young : In the 2012 season I see Young getting : .246 avg, 27 HR, 88 RBI, 26SB.

    Right Fielder – Justin Upton : J-Up the 25 year old stud. He is the franchise player and he will show it. look for Upton getting around : .302 avg, 35 HR, 100 RBI, 21 SB.

    Starting Pitching :

    1) Ian Kennedy – Woah! everyone said when they saw Ian pitch last year. Look for him to get slightly worse statistics : 17-7, 3.09 ERA, 178 K’s. 

    2) Daniel Hudson – Hudson is a work horse, he still has some upside so look for a improved year : 17-9, 3.20 ERA, 180 K’s

    3) Trevor Cahill – We got Cahill in a trade from the A’s this off season. I am very happy with the deal, Cahill is only 23! Yes you read that correctly, 23 years old. Still has up side. I see him putting up : 15-10, 3.30 ERA, 154 K’s. 

    4) Joe Saunders – Saunders was a free agent, but we gladly brought him back. The Southpaw innings eater should produce the same stat line as last year, if not slightly worse. 10-11, 3.89 ERA, 105 K’s. 

    5) Josh Collmenter – Hmm…Collmenter, we will see either a suprisingly good season or an awful one from him. Too hard to tell…I got nothing.


    Are additions of Saito and Breslow should help out our bullpen. I love Putz and Hernandez, hopefully they can repeat the year they had.


    I am pleased as a D-Backs Fan of how this underdog team has improved so much…I can’t wait for a suspenseful 2012 season.

    Thanks for reading, post your ideas below. >< 

    • I think they’re good but I’m not sure about WS winners. The rotation is a little young but it does look good. I think for them to pull out a championship every player in the lineup needs to hit those projections, which I think is doubtful. Hill needs to step it up this year along with Drew. Chris Young needs to produce as well, and of course health plays a huge role as well. Another year or two and the world series will be in sight in my opinion.

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      Gave you my comments in the other thread this showed up in. I still think some (especially the pitching) predictions are overly optomistic. But the Dbacks are most certainly poised to take advantage of this window to win. They have 3-4 seasons to get it done before a new crop is going to have to take over. Thankfully, the team is exceedingly young and still has a strong farm system to replenish the inevitable defections from the team when some of those players hit FA.

    • Scott Allen 3 years ago

      Wow – you have these guys here projected for 184 HR’s between them – not even mentioning the bench guys.  Top team in NL were the the Brewers in 2011 w/ 185.  Dbacks hit 172 as a team in 2011. They aren’t the Yankees, so I doubt that the HR projections materialize.  As for pinning down the batting average?  Were these just random numbers you picked out of thin air or was there an actual formula you used?  Its all a guessing game, so kudos to you if you come close to being right

    • Bombercules 3 years ago

      I’ll take the over on Kennedy’s ERA (K’s seems about right), slight under on Hudson’s, no clue about Cahill but he’ll probably be over, and Saunders is gonna be like 4.40 or something. I’m hoping the team works with Collmenter to start mixing his pitches better to keep batters off-balance, but I could see him getting sent to the pen after batters start to figure him out and calling up Bauer or Skaggs.

      I was all set to get mad at you for these predictions but honestly they’re not terribly ambitious, I could actually see Montero up to 20 homers and only Hill and Kubel are question marks for those homer totals…maybe Roberts.

  5. azdsnd 3 years ago

    Saying that Parra is on par with Young in center field is laughable. Good left fielder=/=average center fielder. Parra’s reads in center are poor, he needs time before he’s in Young’s stratosphere out there.

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      Parra is an above average fielder and an exceptional left fielder. In the minors and winter ball Parra played almost exclusively CF. Though I do agree somewhat in that, when I read the article, the first thought that popped in my mind was that Parra not being a step down from Young was somewhat insulting to Young.

      Playing CF everyday will help improve Parra as a CF. However, Parra at his best is still probably only 75% of what CY is in CF. Parra is fast, don’t get me wrong, but CY’s first step and defensive range are scary to the point of lunacy.

  6. TartanElk 3 years ago

    I like the idea of this series. You know who else isn’t a trade candidate? Lou Gehrig.

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      Exccept that discussion of Parra is actually relevant given the stacked nature of the Diamondbacks OF. It’s really no different than speculating on which young OAK A’s pitcher is going to be moved by Beane next.

  7. BrandonDbacks 3 years ago

    Uh… yeah trade the Franchise Player Justin Upton, real smart bud.

  8. James Attwood 3 years ago

    For onece I am actually looking forward a bit to interleague play. Kubel by all means is the DH in those games where one is employed. It will be wonderful to see a defensive OF of Parra/Young/Upton with the extra pop of Kubel. And although KT has made it quite clear that Kubel is the starting LF, I don’t put it past Gibson to relegate him to being the heavy-hitting 4th OF if Parra performs well enough.

  9. James Attwood 3 years ago

    Upton is signed through 2015. That pretty much defines the window of opportunity for this team. He’ll be in line to make $15MM+ through FA after that. Given that Kenedy and Hudson will need to be extended before then, and MOntero is going to be due a huge bump too, they either need to win by then, or it would not be at all surprising for them to trade Upton in his final season. He’ll be worth every penny he gets paid I am sure, but what the Dbacks have right now in payroll flexibility will not be the case in 2015.

  10. FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 3 years ago


    but his final season is still far away.

  11. James Attwood 3 years ago

    Because the Diamondbacks need a 4th light-hitting .260 SS?

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