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Examining Gerardo Parra's struggles with the Orioles and other pending free agent outfielders

The outfielder has not had a good showing with the O's. Should the Birds try to re-sign him or look elsewhere for help?

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It's possible that there is not a single player on the Orioles roster than better exemplifies the team's woes in 2015 than trade deadline acquisition Gerardo Parra. Simply put: things just did not go well for either party in August.

When Parra made the switch from Milwaukee to Baltimore, it was assumed that there would be some significant drop off in performance. Not only was he going from the National League to the American League, but he was also fresh off of playing the best 100 games of his career to that point.

A half-season to forget

The outfielder came to the O's sporting a slash line of .328/.369/.517 earlier this season. Had he maintained those numbers, they each would have been career highs. Not to mention, he had walked 20 times to go with 57 strikeouts. And his 24 doubles, five triples and nine home runs contributed to career high OPS+ of 138. He was having a "career year".

With Baltimore, virtually every number has taken a nose dive. In the orange and black he is only slashing .241/.280/.420 with five doubles, five home runs and 10 RBI over 26 games. His isolated power has dropped from .189 as a Brewer to .171 as an Oriole. But the most significant change is his batting average on balls in play. Before the trade he was getting pretty fortunate with a ridiculous .372 BABIP. It has been .247 in Birdland.

If you are a frequent Camden Chat reader, you will know that Ryan Pollack went into more depth with all of these numbers at the beginning of August. Surprisingly, Parra has done little to improve upon the .235/.299/.378 slash line that Orioles left fielders boasted prior to the trade.

As unsustainable as his .372 BABIP was in the NL, as too is his .247 BABIP in the AL. Parra is hitting the ball hard enough to have better numbers than that. It just wasn't the best month to be an Oriole, I suppose.

Will he return in 2016?

While Parra has not had quite the impact that the Orioles had hoped, he could still be one of the better outfield options on the free agent market this winter, provided he finds a happy medium between Brewer Parra and Oriole Parra. But you may have heard, the Orioles have just a few other players with expiring contracts too.

Since Parra isn't as flashy of a name, he likely won't command the dollars that the likes of Matt Wieters or Chris Davis will. CC's own Chris Booze projects a three-year, $30 million deal for the left-handed hitting Parra. That sounds about right. It is a number the Orioles can afford, but it's possible that another team swoops in with a fourth year and nabs him.

Other options

The outfield free agent class boasts quite a few heavy hitters. Chief among them are Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes. To me, the Orioles can't afford any one of those guys. Well, they can afford them, they just won't be willing to do so.

After them is a big glut of guys (FULL LIST HERE) that all have some sort of flaw but could definitely help the O's problems in the outfield. Some of the bigger names are Dexter Fowler, Ben Zobrist, Denard Span and Austin Jackson.


Obviously, things haven't gone perfectly for Parra during his time in an Orioles uniform. He has fallen well short of his output as a Brewer and has done little to stop the slide, nay, tumble the Birds have taken down the standings in the last two weeks.

Because of his proven track record as a solid major league player, Parra will command a somewhat decent contract this winter. Given his lack of production in Baltimore, will the O's front office be willing to give it to him? Sure, there are plenty of other outfield options in the free agent market, but it won't be cheap to get their signatures either.

It may be wise to take the "watch and see" approach to the situation. Keep a dialogue going with Parra and his people. Meanwhile, survey the outfield free agents and keep tabs on the guys of real value. Heyward would look great in black and orange, but it is unlikely to become a reality.

Personally, Zobrist and Fowler are the most interesting names. The Zorilla can play all over the field and could serve as both a back up infielder and outfielder if the roster is stretched thin throughout the season. Fowler may very likely cost more than Parra does, but with good reason as he provides more pop.

What do you think, Camden Chat? Evaluate Parra's performance and compare it to other pending free agent outfielders. Does it stand up to the competition? Should the O's try to re-sign him or look elsewhere for help? Let me know in the comments down below or on Twitter @ _TyYoung