2016 Fantasy Baseball: Rockies Sign Gerardo Parra
The Colorado Rockies made an interesting move, singing outfielder Gerardo Parra to a three-year, $27.5 million dollar contract, with a club option for the fourth year. This move is interesting because it makes Parra the fourth outfielder, which would indicate that one of Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, or Corey Dickerson could be on the move.
CarGo is a name that has been floated around all offseason, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone to see him get traded in the near future. The Batlimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels, and Texas Rangers have all been linked to the slugger, with the O’s making a strong push for him, per Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com.
The Parra move is also interesting given the fact that the Rockies aren’t expected to contend next season, but we shouldn’t be surprised by anything they do anymore. Parra isn’t a ‘sexy’ player, especially from a fantasy perspective, so it would be fair to say this signing is more about Carlos Gonzalez than is Gerardo Parra.
Why the Rockies made this move
As mentioned prior, there is likely a trade, or two, on the horizon for the Rockies. They made it clear to us last season when they traded Troy Tulowitzki that they were finally coming to their senses and realized they aren’t very good. They received a nice haul for Tulo, and they should expect something of the same from their outfielders, especially Carlos Gonzalez and Corey Dickerson. Dickerson, however, is coming off an injury-riddled campaign in which he played in just 65 games. CarGo, on the other hand, hit a career-high in home runs and regained the trade value that diminished following his 2014 season. CarGo is now 30, while Dickerson is just 26, so it makes a lot more sense for the Rockies to prioritize trading Gonzalez.
If Gonzalez does indeed go to the Orioles, that will make things increasingly awkward for Justin Upton and Yoenis Cepedes, who both have to be waiting for the Orioles to throw that Chris Davis money at them. If the Orioles trade for CarGo and sign Davis, that will turn them from a super-meh team into an immediate contender in the AL East.
All this baseball talk, and barely any mention of the guy who actually signed a contract today! Parra finished last season with a .291/.328/.452 slash line, which is respectable, but it doesn’t highlight his decline in the second half of last season. On top of that, Parra’s defense has declined significantly the last two seasons, while grading out as a below-average defender last season. As recent as 2013, Parra was regarded as one of baseball’s best corner outfiedlers, when he put up an absurd 29.5 UZR and 41 DRS.
Despite all that decline, Parra turns just 29 early in the season, so it’s not like he’s on the verge of breaking down. He’s been about average to below-average offensively throughout his career, and we may see a spike in some numbers with the move to Coors Field. He did hit a career-high 14 home runs in 2015, so it wouldn’t be too farfetched to say he could reach 20 home runs in 2016. This deal isn’t groundbreaking, nor is it all that exciting, but it does give us a clear idea of what the Rockies’ next move might be.
What this deal means for you
If you’re a Carlos Gonzalez owner, it’s likely that you never want him to leave Colorado. His batting average at home is nearly 70 points higher than it is on the road, and he’s hit 36 more home runs at home in just 41 more at-bats. How’s that for a home/road split? This isn’t news, however, as this conversation comes up every time when people start talking about a possible CarGo trade. Home run power in the 40’s is tough to come across nowadays, so I don’t think teams will look too much into it. CarGo won’t come cheap, either, as he’s pegged to earn $17 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2017. Going to the Orioles might not be the worst thing in the world for owners, as it’s still a very hitter friendly park, and we’ve seen other left-handed hitters, most recently Chris Davis, flaunt their 40 home run power there.