The Colorado Rockies have a very talented outfield with the likes of Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson, and Ben Paulsen available to roam the grass at Coors Field. Earlier last week, the Rockies added to their outfield riches by inking Gerardo Parra to a three-year, $27.5 million contract.
The 28-year-old Parra will make $8 million in 2016 and 2017, and that number jumps to $10 million in 2018. Additionally, there is a club option for $12 million in 2019 or a $1.5 million buyout.
In his seven years in the majors, Parra is a lifetime .277 hitter and is averaging nine homers and 51 RBI per 162 games.
Starting with his rookie season in 2009, Parra played for the Arizona Diamondbacks until the club traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers on July 31, 2014. Knowing the amount of time Parra spent with Colorado’s National League West rival, I reached out to fellow byteclay.com beat writer Mark Brown, who has covered the Diamondbacks since 2010, about what he saw from Parra during his time in the desert and what he expects from the outfielder now that he’s back in Arizona’s division.
“I think you’re looking at a guy who will be a .250-.255 hitter and Rockies fans shouldn’t expect big numbers from him. He’s a hitter who likes to punch the ball and doesn’t hit for a lot of power,” Brown said. “He has decent speed in the outfield and a really good arm. His arm and his ability to throw runners out is really what stands out to me. I remember watching him in one game against the Atlanta Braves when he threw two runners out in one inning. He ran off the field shaking his finger like, ‘Don’t try to run on me.’ It wasn’t a mean thing but it was a statement from him that his arm should be respected.”
Brown said that his interactions with Arizona players and coaches impressed upon him that Parra’s value to the Diamondbacks extended further than just his on-field abilities.
“This is a guy who was considered a good teammate by those who played with him in Arizona,” Brown said. “He brings a lot of value to the team, not only in the outfield but also as a teammate as well.”
Like many Colorado fans, Brown is interested to see how Parra meshes with the Rockies’ talented outfield and plans for the 2016 season.
I’m interested to see how (Colorado manager) Walt (Weiss) uses him. I definitely think he’s capable of playing in 150 to 152 games,” Brown said. “I think we’ll all know during that first few weeks of spring training on what will happen with the Rockies’ crowded outfield.”
Colorado opens its spring training schedule against the Diamondbacks on March 2.