St. Louis Cardinals: How about Gerardo Parra?

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images /

If the St. Louis Cardinals don’t want to spend big this offseason, they can protect their outfield depth and look at Gerardo Parra.

John Mozeliak has a lot on his plate this winter. Whiskey doesn’t cure these type of blues. He gambled and lost out on big tickets Jason Heyward and David Price. He doesn’t prefer the remaining beefier options on the market, like Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes much to the discourse of his once St. Louis Cardinals’ loyal fan base.

He has this small scale “hacking scandal” taking sinister twists this month. His star prospect got busted for a second weed offense. The man is tired of looking and worrying so maybe it’s time to look at the middle tier of free agent outfielders. Someone like Gerardo Parra, who split 2015 between Milwaukee and Baltimore.

Parra isn’t Upton or Cespedes. He will never hit 20 home runs in a season and doesn’t project for an MVP or Silver Slugger award this year. What he can give you is versatility and depth. This guy was a 2.1 WAR (via BRef) in 2015 and a 6.1 WAR guy as recent as 2013.

Parra has a career .277/.326/.407 slash line, which isn’t going to excite fantasy holders but it may interest Mo. Parra had a solid 2015 season, hitting .291 with 14 home runs and a .452 slugging percentage. He cranked 36 doubles and added five triples while stealing 14 bases.

How about defense? Parra can hold his own and then some. He is the owner of two gold gloves and is as versatile in the outfield as anybody in the game. He started 52 games in right field, 43 in left field and 31 in center field last year.

He threw out 17 baserunners in 2013, and 9 baserunners in each of the past two years. He is well known for his throwing arm. Just ask Jose Oquendo (and he doesn’t hold many runners but he did on Parra a few times in 2014-15).

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Parra isn’t a juicy steak but he could be a fine cheeseburger for a team looking for some extra grease to carry into the season. He won’t make Cardinals’ fans rush back to the Winter Warmup ticket online booth and fight over his signature, but he could be an ace in the hole for a team dealing with quite the drama show this winter. Listen to hardcore Cardinals’ fan and Twitter follow must Matt Thompson:

For perhaps a 2-3 year deal under 30 million, Parra would allow the St. Louis Cardinals to have some flexibility this season without handicapping themselves for 5-6 years. Please don’t believe the Upton will accept a one year pillow deal rumors.

He is still hawking down a 4-6 year deal. So is Cespedes. Chris Davis is still hovering around in LaLa land, rejecting a seven year/150 million dollar deal from Baltimore. If Mozeliak doesn’t want to bet the next half decade on an investment he only has one clear foot in on, why not scale it back and pick up Parra.

Acquiring Parra wouldn’t handicap other potential moves and would allow some flexibility at the trade deadline and next winter. He isn’t the type of player someone writes home about but he could be a valuable asset to a team that values run prevention.

I don’t like Dexter Fowler (someone else can have that horrid defense). Charlie Blackmon is nice but his splits away from Coors are eye opening and he will cost you players. Can’t Parra give you what Blackmon can away from Coors? Carlos Gonzalez is tasty but he’s made of glass.

On Christmas Day, Kangaroo Court’s Cardinals Farm asked for a center fielder. How about Parra, sir? He isn’t a full time center fielder but he can handle the position as well as others. He might even be able to lead off a bit. In 156 at bats in 2015, Parra compiled a .931 OPS hitting leadoff (including a .386 OBP). How about that?

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Parra won’t solve all the Cardinals problems but he could offer depth for an outfield that looks sparse and has no easy calls in Memphis. Gerardo Parra could answer the short term bell while Mozeliak and the Cardinals figure out the long term one.

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend.