One of the areas the Chicago Cubs could stand to upgrade is the outfield. Could they look within the division to shore up their ranks this summer?
Parra, 28, is in the midst of the best season of his big league career at the season’s halfway point, boasting a .310 average to go along with nine home runs and 30 RBI. When evaluating the Milwaukee outfielder, it’s important to note that he’s never been nor will he ever be a 100-RBI machine in any lineup.
That being said, he’s certainly a valuable asset – and he doesn’t create a logjam for Chicago moving forward given he’s set to test the waters of free agency at season’s end.
Owed just $6.2 million in 2015, the former Arizona Diamondbacks rookie has shown his prowess with the leather, winning a pair of Gold Glove Awards in the past six seasons – including a particularly impressive 2013 campaign.
Parra was a 6.1 WAR player that season, smacking 43 doubles and leading all National League left fielders with 17 assists.
Since then, however, he’s been a bit more ‘down to earth’ defensively, averaging roughly -0.3 dWAR from 2013 to 2015 in time split between Arizona and Milwaukee.
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Given he’s a rental player, the asking price for Parra should be notably lower than some of the other premier names that have been mentioned in rumors of late.
With the Brewers seemingly caught without any real sense of direction moving forward, it’s not out of the question that the front office could opt to tear the whole thing down and rebuild from scratch, unloading arms like former Cub Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse, and offensive assets like Parra, Gomez and Jean Segura.
Parra would offer the Cubs another left-handed bat for the stretch run – and a productive one at that.
Entering play Saturday, he boasts a .768 career OPS against right-handed pitching, which would allow Joe Maddon to utilize him in a platoon role alongside Chris Denorfia in left field. The question then would be what is to become of Chris Coghlan, who has heated up down the stretch for Chicago.
The team could stop carrying three catchers on the roster, but a lot of how the 25-man looks come Aug. 1 depends on what moves Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer make in the weeks to come, so it’s rather difficult to pound out all the hypothetical scenarios that could come to fruition.
You can never have too many quality left-handed bats in a lineup and, as noted above, with cost likely a non-factor, Gerardo Parra may be the best option for the Chicago Cubs this July.