The Orioles desperately needed help at the corner outfield spot, as production from guys like David Lough and Travis Snyder was pretty pathetic. In fact the O’s are getting a combined 0.2 WAR this season from all outfielders not named Adam Jones.
Parra will immediately take over in left field, and also becomes the second-best hitter on the team right away. His line of .328/.369/.517 this year is almost as impressive as his 141 wRC+ which is good for 19th in the league.
Parra likely wasn’t highly rated by most GM’s because he’s having a career year. I mean, it’s easy to think this year is a fluke when his career wRC+ is 99 and he’s never slugged over .427 in a season.
But Parra has made strides at age 28. His groundball rate dropped from 53.9% to 47.3% this year from last, and he’s hitting 5% more fly balls and 1.5% more lines drives. He’s also making hard contact more often, 33.9% of the time up from his career mark of 29.5%. He’s always been a decent gap hitter, he’s just putting hard contact on the ball more this year than ever, and it doesn’t seem like much of a fluke to me. His BABIP of .372 is pretty damn high, but that didn’t stop Derek Jeter, who had a career .350 BABIP and very similar K% and BB% to Parra.
The Orioles only gave up Davies, ranked third in their organization but considered to have limited upside due to his small frame. Most scouts project Davies as a #4 or #5 starter, with large injury risk. Not a huge haul for one of the best hitters in the NL.
Houston gave up their #2 ranked prospect in Phillips, #7 prospect in Santana and #14 in Hader for…Gomez? Phillips alone is a better prospect than Davies and will probably be a better outfielder than Gomez within the next 3 years. What makes Gomez so much more of an appealing buy than Parra?
Gomez, at 29 years old certainly offers more defensive value than Parra, and can play center field. But when compared offensive production, it’s not even close.
Gomez is hitting .258/.312/.416 with a 104 wRC+. The highest wRC+ he’s ever reached is 132 in 2014. Combine this with his bad hip that gave the Mets second thoughts and I am struggling to understand how Gomez is worth so much. The best part about Gomez is that he has another year left on his deal, and will only be making $9 million in 2016.
Even if Parra is expiring after this year, that doesn’t automatically make Parra a rental. I wouldn’t rule out a re-signing if all goes well during the rest of the year, considering how many contracts the O’s have coming off the books after 2015.
With the major additions made by the Blue Jays, the O’s might not make the playoffs anyway, but they had to do something to stay in the race, and considering how little they gave up, Parra is a bargain. I’m buying Parra’s production and other major league teams should have as well.