The Colorado Rockies are supposedly "a serious pursuer" of free agent outfielder Gerardo Parra, according to a report from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman published Thursday morning. Heyman reports "seven or eight" teams are in on the 28-year-old Venezuelan-born outfielder, but specifically names the Rockies as a dark horse to acquire the seven-year veteran.
More from Heyman on Parra:
This fine-defending versatile outfielder is said to have "seven or eight" teams in on him, including the under-the-radar Rockies. Colorado has been reported here and elsewhere to be considering a trade for Carlos Gonzalez and by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick to be looking at trades for their other incumbent outfielders, as well. Colorado, meantime, is said to be a serious pursuer here. The Royals also make sense for Parra, as do the Nats, who have more work to do and GM Mike Rizzo, who acquired Parra for the Diamondbacks and is said to be a fan.
Parra appeared in 155 games last year, split between the Brewers and Orioles after a midseason trade to the American League playoff contender, and slashed .291/.328/.452 in 589 plate appearances. He started 43 games in left field, 31 more in center, and 52 in right field for the two clubs combined.
For his career, the left-handed hitter has slashed .277/.326/.404 across 988 games with the Diamondbacks, Brewers, and Orioles. He's also a stellar defender who has spent significant time at all three outfield positions; he won Gold Glove Awards in 2011 predominantly playing left field, and in 2013 predominantly playing right field.
Against the Rockies over a career spent predominantly in the National League West, Parra has slashed .318/.390/.479 over 353 plate appearances in 89 games. At Coors Field specifically, in 194 plate appearances over 48 games, Parra has slashed .283/.344/.382 with 17 doubles, 17 walks, and eight stolen bases.
Obviously, considering the Rockies' current logjam in the outfield and repeated rumors about moving one or more of their options in a trade, it'd seem the club would need to make a separate move to trade one of Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, or Corey Dickerson to have a Parra acquisition make sense. Over his seven-year career, Parra has averaged playing more than 140 games per season and is still productive enough that he ought not be a fourth outfielder.
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In that same post by Heyman, the sportswriter also shares speculation that the Rockies might be a good fit for free agent shortstop Ian Desmond. Desmond, 30, spend the first seven years of his Major League career with the Washington Nationals. Heyman writes:
Two possible dark horses [for Desmond]: the White Sox, who like to lie in the weeds, have unproven Tyler Saladino at shortstop for now; and the Rockies, which might be a good spot for Desmond to go and rebuild his value, have a domestic issue with Jose Reyes.
Clearly, it seems as though Desmond is pure speculation on Heyman's part, whereas specifically writing the Rockies are "a serious pursuer" of Parra is more substantial. Just like the Rockies have a logjam in their outfield, the shortstop position is muddied right now, with Jose Reyes the presumptive starter to begin the 2016 season and Cristhian Adames and Trevor Story waiting in the wings.
Desmond slashed just .233/.290/.384 for the Nationals last summer over 156 games, striking out 187 times in 583 at-bats. He also logged 27 errors on defense last summer, recording his worst single-season fielding percentage since 2010. Nevertheless, he's a former All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2012, 2013, 2014).
To have Desmond rebuild his value in Coors Field is an interesting (and perhaps even sensible) proposition in some ways, especially if the Rockies feel Story and/or Adames are not yet prepared to take the reins at shortstop in 2016. At that point, Desmond could give the Rockies a buffer for their prospects while adding a middle infielder who has slugged 185 doubles and 110 home runs over his career on a relatively team-friendly short-term contract.
But the wild card there is Reyes, who will be difficult to move and expensive should the Rockies decide to eat the remainder of his contract. In fact, in that same post by Heyman, the sportswriter includes this tidbit about the veteran shortstop stuck in Denver:
Colorado had a chance or two to trade Jose Reyes shortly after acquiring him, but the Rockies asked for big-time prospects back. Now they are stuck.
Without doing something with Reyes, it doesn't seem like Desmond would be much of a fit in Colorado right now — especially if a move is supposedly so unlikely.
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