Today is the final day for clubs and players to exchange figures for salary arbitration. After yesterday’s signing of Martin Maldonado, the only remaining arbitration eligible player left for the Brewers was outfielder Gerardo Parra. According to a tweet from Adam McCalvy, the Milwaukee Brewers and Parra have agreed to a one year, $6.2375 mil contract, meaning the Brewers will not have to go to a hearing with any players.
Parra, who will turn 28 this season, was signed as an international free agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004 out of Venezuela. He debuted in 2009, and has accrued 5.145 years of service time to this point, meaning this will be his last go around through arbitration before becoming a free agent following this season. Parra was acquired by the Brewers at the non-waiver trade deadline in 2014 in exchange for Anthony Banda and Mitch Haniger. In 46 games for Milwaukee last season, the left handed hitting Parra posted a .268/.318/.390 slash with a 20.9% strikeout rate. He hit three home runs and stole four of six bases successfully for the Brewers.
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Gerardo is currently slated to be the fourth outfielder for the Brewers, but could potentially take at-bats away from Khris Davis against right handed pitchers. I believe this would be a mistake, however. Parra’s OPS has fallen each season since 2011, and his wRC+ of 90 verses righties in 2014 was actually lower than the 106 mark Khris had against right handed pitchers. While Gerardo is considered a premiere defensive outfielder and has won two Gold Gloves, he actually posted a negative dWAR with Milwaukee last season, and his -1 defensive runs saved and -0.2 USR/150 in 2014 were worse than the marks Davis (who is considered a below average outfielder) posted last season. To me, it appears Gerardo is on the decline, while I think Khrush will take a nice step forward offensively this season.
Given his high salary and the Brewers lack of need for a starting outfielder, my hope is that GM Doug Melvin can find a trade partner for Parra. While I don’t expect him to bring back a huge return, the Brewers are still in the market for relief pitching, and shedding Parra’s salary would help Milwaukee become more flexible in the relief they could pursue. With payroll approaching $110 mil, Brewers brass has intimated payroll limitations have handcuffed them a bit. that I could see teams like Atlanta or Baltimore being potential fits, as both are in need of an outfielder. Behind Parra, offensively challenged Logan Schafer and waiver claim Shane Peterson are backup outfield options.