Could a two time Gold Glove Award winner fill a hole for the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason?
During the 2018 season, next to maybe catcher, no position group was better for the Pittsburgh Pirates than the outfield. The good news for the team is that each of three primary outfielders from 2018 are under contract for 2019, the bad news is not all of them will be healthy when the season begins.
Due to shoulder surgery, Gregory Polanco will miss at least the first six or seven weeks of the 2019 season. This makes adding an outfielder this offseason a top priority for Pirate GM Neal Huntington. When looking to the free agent market, veteran Gerardo Parra could be a fit for the Bucs.
The 31-year-old Parra is a 10-year MLB veteran that has played for four teams. Parra, who spent the past three seasons with the Colorado Rockies, is a left-handed hitter and two time Gold Glove Award winner.
In his career, Parra has always been a defense first player. In 1,347 career games Parra owns a .278/.325/.405 slash line, .127 ISO, .316 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 89.
To go along with his two Gold Glove Awards, Parra owns a lifetime defensive runs saved of +64 as an outfielder. He also leads all MLB outfielders with 99 outfield assists since making his debut in 2009 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
For those wondering, his +64 DRS is good for 14th best in the Majors during this same time period.
Finding an outfielder in free agency that is willing to sign with a team where they will only start for a few weeks will not be easy to do. It is also difficult to trade away significant pieces for an outfielder to fill this void. And this is part of the reason why Parra could be a fit.
At this point in his career, Parra is likely best served as a fourth outfielder. Which is what he could become for the Pirates once Polanco returns from injury. He is also a defensive wizard and a player that Polanco may be able to learn from defensively.