Shortly after the Orioles acquired Gerardo Parra at the trade deadline, manager Buck Showalter said that the outfielder was kind of player who could be with the team for several years.
The 28-year-old was picked up from Milwaukee for pitcher Zach Davies, and while his two months with the Orioles didn’t compare favorably with his first four months with the Brewers, it’s the Orioles’ hope they can keep him around.
Showalter is fond of saying that if you don’t retain a certain player, you’ll be looking around in the winter for a similar one, and that definitely applies here.
Parra filled in a hole in right field, and with Dariel Alvarez not appearing to be ready for full-time duty, there doesn’t seem to be any alternative to retaining him.
The Orioles can’t give Parra, who hit .237 in 55 games, a qualifying offer because he was traded, and with the likely free agent losses looming, losing him would be another loss.
He batted .328 in 100 games with Milwaukee, far above his .277 lifetime average, but didn’t appear to adjust well in his first time in the American League.
Parra hit .239 with five home runs in August, and just .234 with no home runs the rest of the season, but he ended nicely, hitting .417 in the last week of the season.
He won’t make anyone forget Nick Markakis, who hit .296 in 156 games for Atlanta, but Parra is four years younger.
In order to retain Parra, the Orioles may have to offer him a three-year, $30 million contract, but really what’s the alternative?
Other than Alvarez, who played just 12 games after his late August recall, there aren’t any major league ready outfielders in the system, and the free agent focus seems to be on pitching.
All that points to the Orioles trying to keep Parra and perhaps Alvarez can start 2016 with the team.
Parra is a left-handed hitter like Markakis was, and he can play center field. He started in center field six times when Adam Jones was hurt.
Showalter has said it’s important for the team to have a decent option in center when Jones is unavailable, and Parra could help there.
In his two months with the non-running Orioles, Parra was the team’s second leading base stealer, with five steals in six attempts. He trailed only Manny Machado. That’s another positive about keeping it.
Parra said he enjoyed playing with the Orioles, and liked the ballpark.
While his signing wouldn’t generate the buzz that a re-signing of Chris Davis or Darren O’Day might, it would be a useful start to the 2015-16 off-season.