By: Jason Mumm
The Colorado Rockies have confirmed today the signing of Gerardo Parra to a 3-year, $27.5 million contract from the Baltimore Orioles. Parra hit .291 last year for the Orioles and Brewers with 108 WRC+ and a 0.4 WAR. His WRC+ rating would place him 4th on the team behind Arenado, Dickerson, and Gonzalez; he would rank 9th on the team in WAR for position players. He has won two gold glove awards in his career and is considered an elite fielder.
Speculation of the Parra deal has been ongoing for a few weeks. It increases the Rockies depth in an already steady outfield leading many to speculate that a trade involving one or more of the existing three starters may be imminent. Seeing as how the Rockies have not had success finding their ideal value for Carlos Gonzalez in earlier trade talks, it seems probable that if a trade were to occur it would involve either Blackmon or Dickerson.
Already, trade rumors are circulating involving the Tigers, Orioles, and White Sox. Those rumors all center around a trade for pitching talent. It seems odd though that pitching might suddenly be available for the Rockies as a result of signing Parra. The Rockies have been in several trade talks during this off-season, many of which have focused on dealing their outfield strength for pitching, and none have materialized. Enter Parra – more outfield strength. How does that change the dynamic? I contend that it doesn’t.
Although pitching has to be a big concern for the Rockies, I think the Parra signing will actually give them a different chip in moving a player that they desperately need to move: Jose Reyes. Reyes’ $22m salary and surly attitude are problems for the Rockies. They aren’t going to get much interest in Reyes – and they haven’t – but they may get some by packaging him with Blackmon or Dickerson in exchange for a shortstop and some pitching prospects.
If the Rockies were able to assemble interest in such a package, it could work as a bit of a coup. CBS Sports already reported the Rockies had interest in free agent short stop Ian Desmond. If the Rockies were able to package Blackmon/Dickerson and Reyes in exchange for pitching prospects, it could cut the salary down allowing room to sign Desmond, and the Rockies would presumably get some pitching in the deal along the lines of prospects or bull pen help. This scenario doesn’t seem too far fetched. It would improve the team’s offense assuming a dose of Coors Field would revive Desmond’s productivity, which has been waning of late; it would provide at least some help in the pitching category; and it would get the team free of Reyes who is poised to be a clubhouse curse in 2016.