It was tough to be a corner outfielder on the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. Off-season addition Travis Snider was a big disappointment. Alejandro De Aza failed to provide the same spark he did in 2014. Steve Pearce couldn't come close to replicating his breakout summer a year ago. And Delmon Young's bat wasn't good enough to make up for his lack of athleticism. As a response, Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette went out and traded pitching prospect Zach Davies to the Milwaukee Brewers for Gerardo Parra, a two-time Gold Glove winner who was in the midst of a career year. He would prove to be more of hinderance rather than a help.
At the time of the trade, Parra was slashing .328/.517/.886 with the Brewers, all of which would have been career highs if expanded over a full season. With the Orioles, Parra slashed .237/.268/.357, all of which would have been career lows if expanded over a full season. Whoopsie.
One nice offensive threat provided by Parra was his speed on the base paths. In his two months in Baltimore, he swiped five bags in six attempts, which gave him the second most stolen bases on the team behind only Manny Machado (20-for-28).
In the field, Fangraphs paints a picture that makes it seem like Parra's Gold Glove days are well behind him. For the O's, he spent most of his time in right field. Parra's UZR there was -3.7 over 479.1 innings. In center field, he had a UZR of -10.0 over 289 innings. And in left he had a UZR of -4.4 over 395.2 innings. These numbers are split between Baltimore and Milwaukee, but he did play all three positions for both teams.
Also according to Fangraphs, all of this added up to a WAR value of -0.8 for Parra. On Baseball Reference, it was an even uglier -1.1 WAR. That is the worst "value" on the team. Yes, worse than Bud Norris, Ryan Flaherty and Everth Cabrera.
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Davies made his Major League debut for the Brew Crew and showed well over six starts. He went 3-2 with a 3.71 ERA, striking out 24 and walking 15 over 34 innings pitched. This puts the Orioles on the wrong side of a fairly lopsided trade to this point, especially when you consider that Parra is an upcoming free agent and Davies has six years of team control in Milwaukee.
There was talk at the time of the trade that the O's were also looking at the Philadelphia Phillies Ben Revere, who ended up going to the division rival Toronto Blue Jays. Revere did pretty well for the Jays, slashing .319/.354/.381 and he actually hit a home run (he only has four in his career).
As I mentioned, Parra is going out on the open market this winter. Obviously, he won't be given a qualifying offer because he wasn't with the O's for the entire season and, let's be honest, he isn't worth that kind of dough anyway ($15.8 million for one year). The outfielder's poor performance for the Birds is likely to scare aware most of the American League teams as the switch from NL to AL saw a steep dive in production.
However, the O's will still keep tabs on him and may bring him back if the price is right as the corner outfield positions still need some serious improvement and must be addressed. The internal options (Nolan Reimold, Henry Urrutia, Dariel Alvarez, etc.) failed to really stake their claim to the job.
Some of the more expensive options on the market include Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton. Parra falls somewhere in that second or third tier that may be more in the Orioles comfort zone for free agents (Yawn!).
It is safe to say that Parra's stay in Baltimore was pretty terrible. On the bright side, he seemed excited to be in Charm City and assimilated into the team well. If the Orioles are able to re-sign him for two or three more years this could turn that trade around. But right now, it has to be chalked up as a loss.