It was not supposed to be this bad for Gerardo Parra in 2016. The 29-year-old Venezuelan was signed last December as the quick replacement for Corey Dickerson and the hope was he could bring defensive stability to an outfield that needs to cover more ground than any other.
What he brought instead was one of the worst individual seasons in team history. Parra’s -2.8 bWAR was so bad, fans began to practically beg the team to leave him on the bench near the end of the year. Parra’s defense wasn’t abysmal by any means, but his bat and more specifically his eye was among the worst anyone who has even watched an inning of baseball has ever seen.
Parra’s approach at the plate could be politely described as “not ideal.” He walked at a rate of 2.4 percent—that’s nine walks in 381 plate appearances. Over the course of six months and 102 of his baseball games, we all saw Gerardo Parra walk just nine times. Gerardo Parra attempted to steal 10 bases and walked just nine times. Gerardo Parra grounded into 16 double plays and walked just nine times. Gerardo Parra had nine outfield assists and five errors this season. He walked just nine times.
If you put Gerardo Parra’s walks end to end they would only stretch 810 feet. You wouldn’t even get from home plate to the parking lot at Coors Field. Beyoncé won eight VMA awards this year, that’s one fewer VMA award than Gerardo Parra had walks in 2016.
Have I made my point?
Going into the season, Parra’s $27 million contract wasn’t something anyone thought about. He would likely just be a decent outfielder and the Rockies would walk away from him in 2018. Memories of Parra weren’t supposed to be good or bad. If everything went to plan Parra, would’ve just been another player on the Rockies. This year couldn’t have been predicted by even the most pessimistic Rockies fan. The wheels came off Gerardo Parra this year and it may just be worth it to lease a new car.
Gerardo Parra is under contract in 2017. The Rockies will either be paying him to play somewhere else, paying him to play in Denver, or paying him to play minimally in Denver. It might behoove the Rockies to keep Parra on the 25-man into next Spring and see if he regains any semblance of value, but it wouldn’t be unjustified for the team to completely sever ties and list Parra as a sunk cost investment.
The lowest ranked player (by bWAR) in baseball is set to make eight million American dollars next year, and the Rockies are going to have to decide what that means for them.