The Orioles have interest in bringing free agent Gerardo Parra back in 2016, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. Executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette said that the team was looking to keep the outfielder on a long-term when the O’s first acquired him at the trade deadline, and sources tells Connolly that the Orioles’ stance hasn’t changed.
Parra, for his part, said he will focus on his future once the season is over but is “for sure” open to a return. “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,” Parra said.
Reports in mid-September also suggested that the O’s still had interest in retaining Parra, though Connolly’s update indicates that Parra’s continued struggles haven’t scared the Orioles away. Since coming to Baltimore, Parra has hit only .215/.244/.340 with five homers over 212 plate appearances. Parra admitted that he has had some trouble adjusting in his first stint in the AL due to facing several unfamiliar pitchers for the first time.
Prior to this season, Parra was known more for his excellent defense than his bat, as he had a middling .274/.326/.395 career slash line from 2009-14. In the first four months of the 2015 season, however, Parra hit .328/.369/.517 over 351 PA with the Brewers, though that performance was aided by a .372 BABIP.
MLBTR’s Jeff Todd examined Parra’s free agent case last month and opined that Parra could find a four-year deal this winter, as his outfield versatility, left-handed hitting potential and age (he turns 29 in May 2016) make him an appealing target within the second tier of free agent outfielders. Given Parra’s poor September, a four-year deal may no longer be realistic given that some front offices could write off his first four months as a BABIP-fueled anomaly.
Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun recently suggested that the O’s could look to extend Parra before he hits the open market, five days after the conclusion of the World Series. It was just last October that the Orioles moved quickly to lock up impending free agent J.J. Hardy, extending the shortstop while the club was still in the postseason. Parra’s struggles may, in a sense, help the Orioles hammer out a new deal since his price tag is now lower than it was even a few weeks ago. Signing Parra quickly would also get one piece of offseason business out of the way in what looks to be a very busy winter for Duquette and company, as Baltimore has seven other free agents and 11 arbitration-eligible players on the roster.