The Orioles may finally found someone they're willing to trade and a team willing to give up an asset for someone who isn't one of the top names. The Orioles are rumored to be working on a deal to pick up Gerardo Parra from the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night. To get Parra, they would send back prospect Zach Davies and possibly more to the Brewers.
My counterpart Nathan Bishop over at Lookout Landing, the Mariners blog, was the first to report on the trade, although no, I don't know how he knew. It is a fact that Nathan reported the return in the Carlos Gomez trade to Houston before anyone else.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and others indicated that the return of Davies may not be enough to fetch Parra, on whom the Brewers have placed a high price tag. This could be an evolving deal, or it may not end up coming to fruition after all.
Parra, 28, is a pending free agent at the end of the year. He's picked a good year to have the best year of his career, batting .324/.367/.517 through 99 games. Something that's probably contributing to those career-best numbers is career-best BABIP luck. Parra's sporting a .370 BABIP, far above his career average of .327.
One would hope that the Orioles were expecting some regression as they consider making this trade, but it will bear watching. If Parra comes here and looks more like the .279/.330/.407 hitter he has been in his career, neither they nor we should be surprised. Of course, given the Orioles' current outfield situation, it's probably still an improvement if they can plug in the lefty Parra, play him every day at a corner spot, and part ways with someone expendable in the process.
Parra is making $6.24 million this season, so the O's would be on the hook for in the realm of $2 million for the rest of the season.
Davies was considered the #3 prospect in the Orioles system by the recently-released MLB.com Top 30 Prospects list. That's kind of eye-popping to give up for a rental and indeed it could be something the O's regret - but realistically the fact that Davies is #3 says more about the O's system than it does about Davies.
Drafted in the 26th round in 2011, Davies has chugged through the system at one level per season, performing capably at each level, including his 3.02 ERA this season for Norfolk in 18 games. The question about him is whether he'll be able to harness a slight frame (6'0" and 150 lbs. listed) to success in the big leagues. He's only 22, still young, and since he has yet to appear in MLB, he's got the full six years of team control.
Maybe he will be able to succeed in MLB; if he does, he will probably make us sigh with regret from his spot in the back of the Milwaukee rotation for several years, much like we raise our fists to the sky in anguish over the trade of Eduardo Rodriguez last year. Maybe Davies will wash out because there's little margin for error for a guy with that profile. I had figured he'd be in the competition for the back end of the O's rotation next season, along with Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson. I guess it's down to Wright and Wilson now.
As I watch the Orioles pitchers get blasted by the depleted Tigers, my gut reaction to this trade is that it's not going to be enough to help the team get into the playoffs, so what is the point? And meantime they might wish they had Davies next year. It's all about taking risks, though. If Parra keeps up his scorching hot contract year and gives the O's lineup the shot in the arm it needs to get to a wild card spot, then maybe we won't miss Davies that much after all.
Orioles beat writers are starting to wake up that something might be going on as well:
#orioles are talking to #brewers about Parra & #phillies about Revere. No deals are done. AAA Norfolk RHP Zach Davis part of discussions— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) July 31, 2015
Keep your eyes peeled!