The Washington Nationals apparently are poking around at the Arizona Diamondbacks Gold Glove outfielder Gerardo Parra. The D-Backs may make Parra available after acquiring Jason Kubel this off-season to play left field. Parra would be a fourth outfielder for Arizona, with Justin Upton and Chris Young as fixtures in the desert.
GM Mike Rizzo signed Parra to his first professional contract in 2004 when he was a member of the D-Backs front office.
Parra, 25 in May, is a left-handed hitting outfielder that has primarily played in left field in his three Major League seasons. He hit .292/.357/.427 last season in 493 plate appearances with eight home runs and 15-of-16 stolen bases. For his career he’s a .282/.331/.403 hitter. He’s got good plate discipline and projects to develop 15 home run power.
Last season he was not affected by handedness splits, OBPing .355 against RHPs and .364 against LHPs.
Parra was a Gold Glove winner last season and a Rookie or the Year candidate in 2009. He will become eligible for arbitration next season and will be a free agent after the 2016 season.
If the Nats think Parra can make the transition to center, he could give the Nationals two things: 1) He could play center and possibly lead off this season, allowing the Nats to be more cautious with Bryce Harper’s arrival; and 2) Give them insurance against having to move Michael Morse back to first in the event Adam LaRoche doesn’t recover quickly — or fully – from his shoulder surgery.
Parra might not ever develop into an All-Star, but if he can make the transition to Cf he could give the Nats a couple of seasons of decent — and cheap — production while allowing them to develop a center fielder in the minors. Both Michael Taylor and Brian Goodwin are seen as five-tool athletes right now but both need more seasoning in the bushes. Parra could be a cost-controlled solution, rather than throwing a ton of cash at potential free agents B.J. Upton or Michael Bourn next off-season.