7:43pm: The Angels are not one of the three finalists in on Parra, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. But Parra’s destination still has an impact for Los Angeles, per the report, as the team would have interest in Blackmon if he becomes available.
1:01pm: The Rockies are among three teams currently in the mix for free-agent outfielder Gerardo Parra, his agent, Jose Mijares(not to be confused with the pitcher of the same name) of Octagon tells MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Parra hopes to reach a decision within the “next couple days,” his agent added when speaking to Harding. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post adds that Mijares said Parra is seeking a three-year deal.
Colorado has been connected to Parra on multiple occasions over the past week, with Jon Heyman originally indicating that the Rox were a “serious” suitor for the 28-year-old outfielder. It’s not certain which other teams are in the mix at this point, though Parra has also been prominently linked to the Angels and Nationals recently. The Nationals have long been seeking a left-handed-hitting outfielder, but they may have satisfied that need with the weekend addition of Ben Revere (who came over in a swap that sent Drew Storen to Toronto). The Royals were also said to have interest at one point, although Kansas City re-signed Alex Gordon last week. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets that the Padres aren’t in the mix for Parra despite a potential opening in left field.
Parra is coming off a season that featured mixed results. He opened 2015 in Milwaukee and was on pace for a career year, slashing .328/.369/.517 in 351 plate appearances for the Brewers. That excellent production led the Orioles to part with one of their top pitching prospects, right-hander Zach Davies, in order to acquire Parra prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. Parra maintained his brilliant offensive production through his first two weeks with Baltimore, logging an .840 OPS and cracking three homers in 66 trips to the plate. His season went into a swan dive from that point on, however, as he batted a meager .215/.237/.307 over his final 41 games/172 plate appearances. While a notable BABIP spike (.372) inflated his numbers with the Brewers, he fell victim to the opposite swing of the pendulum down the stretch, BABIPing just .243 over the life of that slump. His overall batting line still represented the best of his career, although declining defensive metrics have dragged down his WAR totals despite increased production at the dish.
At one point this offseason, Parra was reported to have received multiple three-year offers, though that came more than a month ago, and it’s not clear to what degree his asking price and/or the offers he has received have changed (if at all). Parra’s ultimate landing spot holds a fair amount of intrigue given the potentially broad range of ramifications his addition could have.
If, for instance, the Rockies’ interest is earnest and the team does end up landing its former division rival (Parra spent parts of six seasons with the D-backs), one would have to imagine the agreement would increase the likelihood of a trade in Denver. The Rockies, after all, already have three left-handed-hitting outfielders in the form of Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez, leaving them without the opportunity to deploy Parra as a platoon mate for any of the three. Gonzalez is the most frequently mentioned trade candidate of the bunch in large part because he’s controllable for a shorter period of time (two years) than either Blackmon (three years) or Dickerson (four years). With $37MM owed to Gonzalez over the span of those two seasons, he’s also far and away the most expensive asset the Rockies currently have in the outfield.
The Angels, on the other hand, currently project to utilize a combination of Craig Gentry and Daniel Nava in left field, giving them room for an upgrade of their own. Anaheim has, in the past, been frequently linked to left-handed bats, and Parra would fill that need for the team. However, signing Parra would almost certainly put the Angels over the luxury tax threshold, barring some form of trade, and owner Arte Moreno reportedly does not wish to exceed that $189MM capacity. (Remember, too, that luxury tax penalties are calculated based on the average annual value of a contract and not the yearly payroll, so heavily backloading a deal would not spare the Halos of that consequence.)
Of course, other teams do make varying degrees of sense as theoretical destinations. The Orioles still have a need in the corner outfield, though they previously were said to prefer a two-year deal. The Indians could certainly use an upgrade in the outfield corners, particularly with Michael Brantley slated to open the season on the disabled list. Likewise, the White Sox have been tied to upgrades but have been reluctant to go near the asking prices set forth by Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes. The Cardinals made a strong run at retaining Jason Heyward, so one can assume they have at least an openness to corner outfield additions, even if it’s not a pressing need. And the Tigers, too, have been tied to left-field upgrades, though Parra wasn’t listed earlier today in a report indicating many of the names they’ve discussed.