The 32-year-old Parnell once served as a prominent reliever and then a closer for the Mets, but he has struggled to get his career back on track after having Tommy John surgery early in the 2014 season. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season and posted middling numbers in Triple-A. He did make it to the Majors, only to struggle in six outings before being released. His fastball velocity, however, did increase to an average of 94 MPH, one mile per hour higher than in 2015 with the Mets and a bit closer to the high-90s velocity he had in his prime.
Also among the Royals signings (again, presumably of the minor league variety) not already previously noted in this space are lefty Jonathan Sanchez, infielder Brooks Conrad and outfielder Ruben Sosa. The 34-year-old Sanchez did not pitch competitively in 2016 after being released by the Reds in Spring Training. He was a longtime cog in the Giants’ rotation and 786 1/3 big-league innings, a no-hitter, and a 2010 championship ring to his name. He has not appeared in the big leagues since struggling in five outings with the Pirates in 2013, however, and he’s frequently struggled with control issues, with a 5.0 career BB/9. He briefly played for the Royals in 2012.
Conrad, 36, played for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2016 and hit sparingly. His last significant minor league action came in 2015 with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, where he batted a modest .194/.280/.319. In parts of six seasons in the big leagues, he’s hit .200/.271/.389 in about one full season’s worth of at-bats while playing mostly second and third.
The 5-foot-7, 26-year-old Sosa spent several years in the Astros and Angels systems and never established himself as a top prospect, but he likely caught the Royals’ attention with a strong showing in the Mexican League in 2016. In 314 plate appearances with Laguna, he batted .371/.458/.517 with 22 stolen bases, impressive numbers even in a hitter-friendly context.