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