Parra, now o∞cially a Rockie, might change out­field

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pa­trick Saun­ders

Ger­ardo Parra, ex­cited about pa­trolling Coors Field with long­time friend Car­los Gon­za­lez, of­fi­cially be­came the Rock­ies’ fourth left-handed-hit­ting out­fielder Tues­day, fi­nal­iz­ing a three-year, $27.5 mil­lion con­tract.

That much is clear, but the out­field sit­u­a­tion re­mains murky.

With Parra in the fold, will the Rock­ies now trade one of their sur­plus start­ing outfielders to im­prove their sus­pect pitch­ing? Gen­eral man­ager Jeff Bridich is not show­ing his hand re­gard­ing that topic.

“I know it’s pop­u­lar to ex­pect a trade, but it’s tough to put odds on it right now,” Bridich said. “The last thing I want to do is apol­o­gize for bring­ing more tal­ent into this or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

There has been wide­spread spec­u­la­tion that the Rock­ies will trade Corey Dick­er­son, Char­lie Black­mon or Gon­za­lez, last year’s starters. Bridich, how­ever, said that sign­ing Parra was a wise move, trade or no trade.

“Adding an­other pro­fes­sional, tal­ented young out­fielder is over­all a good thing,” Bridich said. “Hav­ing too much depth is a good thing.”

Bridich added that sign­ing Parra is a move to bol­ster the Rock­ies’ ros­ter be­yond 2016.

“Some of it was a look to the fu­ture, and (look­ing) at next year’s free-agent class and not be­ing wowed,” Bridich said.

Parra, 28, said he also was pur­sued by San Fran­cisco and Wash­ing­ton.

“I feel re­ally happy to play for the Rock­ies,” he said dur­ing a con­fer­ence call. “I played against Colorado for many years, and I like play­ing at Coors Field. I feel re­ally, re­ally happy to play with Car­los Gon­za­lez.”

The two were win­ter ball team­mates for Águilas del Zu­lia from

2005-10 and played for Team Venezuela in the 2013 World Base­ball Clas­sic.

Parra won two Gold Glove awards with Ari­zona and is a life­time .277 hit­ter with a ca­reer .326 on-base per­cent­age. Bridich said Parra sim­ply makes the Rock­ies a bet­ter, deeper team.

“We know Ger­ardo very well, all the years of him play­ing against us with the D-backs,” Bridich said. “He cer­tainly im­proves our de­fense any­time he’s out there. And there are al­ways in­juries. You line th­ese things up on pa­per in the win­ter months, and re­al­ity hits come March, April, May.”

Parra has hit .283 with a .344 on-base per­cent­age in 48 games and 194 plate ap­pear­ances at Coors Field. Cu­ri­ously, while he has 56 ca­reer home runs over seven sea­sons, in­clud­ing a ca­reer-high 14 last sea­son, he has never hit home run at Coors.

“Now is the time for the home runs to come,” he said.

Parra won a Gold Glove in right field and in left field while play­ing for Ari­zona and is re­garded as a bet­ter cor­ner out­fielder than a cen­ter fielder. How­ever, he said he can han­dle play­ing cen­ter, even in the ex­pan­sive out­field of Coors Field.

“I can def­i­nitely feel com­fort­able play­ing cen­ter field,” he said.

Bridich agreed, but that does not nec­es­sar­ily mean the Rock­ies are ready to trade Black­mon, a solid starter in cen­ter for the past two sea­sons.

Bridich, mean­while, con­tin­ues to de­flect trade talk about Gon­za­lez, who hit a ca­reer-high 40 home runs last sea­son. Ap­pear­ing on the MLB Net­work on Tues­day morn­ing, Bridich said a re­cent re­port out of Gon­za­lez’s na­tive Venezuela that guar­an­teed Gon­za­lez would not be traded this off­sea­son was “overblown.”

How­ever, Bridich spoke fondly of Gon­za­lez, his tone mak­ing it seem un­likely that Gon­za­lez is on the verge of be­ing traded.

“CarGo’s meant a lot to the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Bridich said. “He has per­se­vered through in­juries, he’s played hurt, he’s played hard. Even though he wasn’t an orig­i­nal Rockie, he’s grown up in the or­ga­ni­za­tion. He took his lumps early, then put his head down and re­ally de­vel­oped into a ma­jor­lea­guer with us.

“He’s been one of the cor­ner­stones for us. So I think you have to think long and hard when you even con­sider lis­ten­ing (to a trade) on a guy like that.”

Fans may be won­der­ing where Rock­ies outfielders are left stand­ing af­ter the sign­ing of Ger­ardo Parra. As­so­ci­ated Press file

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