A look at the interesting case of pending free agent Gerardo Parra

When the Orioles traded with Milwaukee for outfielder Gerardo Parra, they got a player who was having a great season to plug a hole at a corner outfield position.

In 100 games this year with Milwaukee, Parra was outstanding. He came to the Orioles ranked fourth in batting in the National League, and ninth in slugging and OPS. He came to Baltimore batting .328 with 24 doubles, five triples, nine homers and 31 RBIs. He was hitting .435 in July and .460 during an active 14-game hitting streak at the time of the deal on July 31.

But outside of a few flashes of that talent, Parra has not played nearly that well as an Oriole. Some fans have suggested that Parra, a pending free agent, should be signed to a multi-year contract.

But has his play warranted that type of deal?

On Monday, the pitcher traded for Parra got his first major league win. Right-hander Zach Davies gave up just one run in seven innings for the Brewers against Miami. Meanwhile, Parra went 1-for-5 with the Orioles at New York as his average dipped to the low .200s.

In 32 games with Baltimore, Parra is batting .221/.253/.386. Over his last 11 games he is 6-for-50. Over his last 18 contests, he has just one multi-hit game.

Parra-Points-Skyard-After-HR.jpgParra went 9-for-15 in a three-game stretch against Oakland from Aug. 14-16. He looked great and displayed his talents. But in his other 29 Orioles games, he is batting just .176.

My concern, as it relates to his next contract, is that Parra’s play this year with Milwaukee may have been the real outlier. In 2013 and 2014, he hit .268 and .261. His OBP was .323 and .308. His OPS was .726 and .677.

Those are modest numbers and, to me, not nearly worth the deal that say, Nick Markakis got with Atlanta. He signed a four-year deal with the Braves worth $44 million in December. It is a deal some think is a good guideline for Parra for this winter.

I’ve also heard the argument that the O’s need to sign Parra and not have another rental like Andrew Miller. Well, he should not get a multi-year deal just because they traded a prospect to get him. He has to be worth the commitment of the dollars and years, and it doesn’t matter how they acquired him.

Now perhaps Parra is tiring a bit during the long season, or maybe there is some physical issue that has hampered him. I am willing to consider that one or both could be at work here. But just based on his play and the stats, I’m not seeing it from Parra right now. But it is also a 32-game sample size.

On the plus side, he is a solid defender who has won two Gold Gloves and is just 28 years old. He has made some strong plays in the field for the Orioles. He has some tools and skills, and the Orioles do need outfielders.

But when I look at Parra’s numbers from a combined 306 games in 2013-14 and what he has put up with the Orioles since the trade, I don’t see a player worth a Markakis-type of deal. If a team wants to give him that, great for him, but I don’t think it should be the Orioles.

On the farm:

* Triple-A Norfolk lost its regular-season finale Monday to finish that part of its season at 78-66. But now the Tides are headed to the International League playoffs for the first time since 2005 and will host the first two games of a best-of-five series with Columbus on Wednesday and Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. at Harbor Park.

The Tides are scheduled to start right-hander Terry Doyle in Game 1 (4-1, 2.57 ERA), with left-hander Chris Jones starting Game 2 (8-8, 2.94 ERA) and right-hander Tyler Wilson in Game 3 (5-5, 3.24 ERA). The Tides went 5-4 this year against Columbus.

* Double-A Bowie lost its regular-season finale to finish at 79-63. But now the Baysox head to the Eastern League playoffs and start a best-of-five series at Altoona later this week. Altoona will host the series’ first two games Wednesday and Thursday night before Bowie hosts Game 3 on Friday and Games 4 and 5 if necessary on Saturday and Sunday.

The Baysox will start right-hander Joe Gunkel in Game 1 (10-5, 2.79 ERA), followed by left-hander Nick Additon in Game 2 (3-2, 2.97 ERA) and left-hander Chris Lee in Game 3 (4-2, 3.08 ERA). Bowie went 5-9 versus Altoona this year.

* Single-A Frederick wrapped up its season with a 9-2 loss against Winston-Salem Sunday as outfielder Tad Gold went 3-for-4. The Keys went 32-38 in the second half and 64-76 overall on the year.

* Single-A Delmarva lost 12-3 to Lakewood, but the Shorebirds went 38-32 in the second half and 71-67 for the full season. That is the Shorebirds’ first winning year and best record since 2008. Cam Kneeland had a two-run, inside-the-park homer in Monday’s game.

* Short season Single-A Aberdeen needed a win Monday and a loss by either West Virginia or Staten Island to make the New York-Penn League playoffs. But the opposite results happened as Aberdeen lost 7-1 at Hudson Valley while West Virginia and Staten Island both won. So the IronBirds ended a solid year with a record of 40-36 and finished 1 1/2 games out of first place.

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