Gerardo Parra Rumors
Here's the latest from the NL West...
- The Padres' contract extension with Cameron Maybin is a good deal for both parties, writes Fangraphs' Mike Axisa.
- Jeff Moorad's purchase of the Padres could be finalized on March 12 when MLB's ownership committee and executive council hold meetings, reports Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Sullivan hears "the Padres have completed the process of responding to baseball’s questions" following a January owners' meeting when Moorad's latest attempt to complete his purchase wasn't addressed due to what Bud Selig referred to as "economic concerns."
- The Diamondbacks renewed the contracts of Josh Collmenter, David Hernandez, Ian Kennedy and Gerardo Parra for 2012, the team announced Saturday. Between these renewals and agreeing to terms with 15 other players, Arizona now has its entire 40-man roster under contract for the coming season.
- The Dodgers also announced the signings of all their players with less than three years of Major League experience, with Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times specifying that A.J. Ellis will earn $490K in 2012 and Javy Guerra will earn $488K.
- CBS and MSG are each considering investing in one of the groups bidding to buy the Dodgers as a path to obtaining the team's broadcast rights, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Both networks would use the Dodgers as the foundation for a regional sports network. With CBS, MSG, Time Warner and current rights-holders FOX all interested in Dodgers programming, the club looks well-positioned for a multi-billion dollar TV contract, perhaps even topping the Angels' recent 20-year, $3 billion deal with FOX.
8:16pm: The Diamondbacks and Nationals are not currently discussing a trade involving Parra, reports Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. He says other clubs also expressed interest in the outfielder following the Kubel signing.
11:49am: The Nationals have expressed interest in Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. GM Mike Rizzo is familiar with Parra from his time with Arizona, though it's unclear who the Nats would be willing to send the D'Backs in a trade.
Parra, 24, hit .292/.357/.427 with 15 steals and won a Gold Glove last year, but his role has been minimized due to the Jason Kubel signing. He's more than capable of manning all three outfield spots, and he won't be eligible for free agency until after 2015. The Nats have been looking for a long-term solution in center for quite some time, and Parra would certainly fit the bill.
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.
Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he’s open to the idea of adding another starting pitcher before Spring Training begins. If the D’Backs do add an arm, expect a bargain. "We're trying to identify the right guy," Towers said. "Someone who sees an opportunity to compete, who knows what the competition is and wants to do it." Here are the rest of Piecoro’s notes:
- Teams called about Gerardo Parra after the D’Backs signed Jason Kubel, but Towers expects Parra to pick up significant playing time in 2012. "I'm not really motivated to move him," he said. Towers expects Parra to see more playing time in center and right, especially against tough right-handers.
- The D’Backs haven’t made major progress toward an extension with Miguel Montero, but they still hope to keep him “well beyond this year,” according to Towers. The catcher projects to earn $5.3MM in 2012, his final season before hitting free agency. There aren’t a lot of relevant catcher extensions for the sides to use as a frame of reference for a possible deal, according to Towers. “I think Miggy likes it here and we like him here. We just have to keep working at it," the GM said.
- Agent Jose Mijares recently said the sides are nearing an agreement on a 2012 salary for the extension candidate.
- Stephen Drew is recovering from ankle surgery and still hopes to start the season on time.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic spoke to D'Backs GM Kevin Towers, who said outfielder Gerardo Parra "is still very much a part of this club and was a big part last year." Parra, a 2011 Gold Glove winner, will likely be pushed to a fourth outfielder role.
- Kubel will earn $7.5MM in each of the 2012 and '13 seasons, tweets Piecoro, and has a mutual option for '14 at the same amount with a buyout under $1MM.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs calls Kubel a "weird signing," saying that replacing Parra with Kubel is likely to be a net negative for the team. He doesn't think employing Parra as the fourth outfielder is a good use of resources.
- The D'Backs had once hoped to invest in Joe Saunders or Hiroki Kuroda, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but ended up allocating that money toward Kubel. The Kubel signing means the team is likely to round out their rotation with an internal candidate, writes Piecoro, although a cheap fifth starter signing is also possible.
Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers spoke to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic yesterday. Highlights:
- Towers would like to bring back second baseman Aaron Hill, but not at his option prices of $8MM for each of the 2012 and '13 seasons. The 29-year-old hit .315/.386/.492 in 142 plate appearances for Arizona, his first stint in the National League. He's represented by Beverly Hills Sports Council, as our Agency Database shows.
- Towers is "leaning toward" exercising Willie Bloomquist's $1.1MM mutual option and will "probably" pick up a $1.15MM mutual option on catcher Henry Blanco. Piecoro expects both players back, so these might be rare cases where both sides exercise their end of mutual options.
- The GM is undecided on whether to tender a contract to lefty Joe Saunders, depending on whether he thinks the team's young starters are ready. Saunders is due a raise on this year's $5.5MM salary, which we'll dig into later this week here at MLBTR. Towers believes the team has the payroll space for both Hill and Saunders, if that's the route he chooses. I think Saunders will be tendered a contract, since he'd have some trade value.
- Left fielder Gerardo Parra's possible Super Two status is "too close to call right now," said Towers. As of August 23rd, a source told me the cutoff appeared to be two years and 145 days of service, which is the exact amount Parra has.
- Towers seeks a bat to complement first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and Piecoro thinks that might mean re-signing Lyle Overbay.
- Towers feels that the Diamondbacks' pitching staff is in "pretty good shape." The GM doesn't see "big, big" offseason needs, though he won't rule out a run at the "right kind of marquee guy."
Some news from the desert, courtesy of The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro...
- The Diamondbacks' offer of a three-year, $30MM contract to Paul Konerko would have put them over their payroll threshold, but they couldn't pass up the chance to get "a star-caliber hitter at a possible hometown discount." Arizona CEO Derrick Hall tells Piecoro that the team had a legitimate chance to sign Konerko before he eventually re-signed with Chicago.
- The Reds were interested in Gerardo Parra and the D'Backs in Chris Heisey, but a potential deal of the two outfielders was scuttled because the Reds want to keep Heisey.
- Derrek Lee "is said to have interest in" playing in Arizona. We've heard that the D'Backs have had interest in Lee, but Piecoro thinks the first baseman "might be a longshot financially."
- The D'Backs won't be going after any pitching in the short term, following the acquisition of Rule 5 draft pick Joe Paterson.
Here's some late night odds and ends for the night owls who are still up and running, or early birds who are just rising:
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan opines that offering seven years for Cliff Lee is the right thing for his suitors to do.
- Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News opines that it's better for the Rangers to overpay for Lee than it is to let him go to New York.
- Craig Counsell's agent asked the Brewers for more time to consider his options, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Milwaukee is anxious to hear whether or not the veteran infielder will return.
- McCalvy also tweets that the Brewers will continue to pursue catching options, even with the near-signing of Wil Nieves.
- McCalvy's colleague Jason Beck tweets confirmation from Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski that the club has considered sending Alfredo Figaro to Japan.
- WEEI.com's Rob Bradford writes that the Blue Jays talked with Jason Varitek prior to his re-signing with Boston. A.J. Pierzynski, whom the Red Sox also contacted, is happy for Varitek regarding his return to Boston, saying "He deserves it."
- A market for D'Backs outfielder Gerardo Parra is developing, tweets FOX Sports Arizona's Jack Magruder. Parra could be moved to help balance out a lineup that's heavy in left-handed hitters.