Rockies, outfielder Parra agree to 3-year deal

January 11th, 2016

DENVER -- The Rockies reached a three-year, $27.5 million contract with a club option for a fourth year with free-agent outfielder Gerardo Parra on Tuesday and are in talks with other clubs about moving one of their outfielders.

The signing was first reported by Diario La Verdad in Venezuela and announced by Parra on Twitter and Instagram. The Rockies have not confirmed the deal.

According to Diario La Verdad, Parra's contract calls for salaries of $8 million in 2016 and 2017, $10 million in 2018 and a club option for 2019 worth $12 million, or a $1.5 million buyout.

The move leaves the Rockies with four starting-level, left-handed-hitting outfielders, including star right fielder Carlos Gonzalez (coming off a 40-homer season), center fielder Charlie Blackmon and left fielder Corey Dickerson, with speculation that one will be traded. The Rockies seek starting pitching, most likely either a young Major Leaguer or top prospect, and have an immediate need in the bullpen.

Gonzalez is owed $37 million over the next two years. Blackmon is under club control for three years, with MLB Trade Rumors projecting he will earn $4.5 million this year through the arbitration process, while Dickerson is a year from arbitration and under club control for four years.

Parra's tweet included a picture of him with Gonzalez. They were winter-ball teammates for Aguilas del Zulia from 2005-10 and played for Team Venezuela in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. But it's anyone's guess whether they'll be Rockies teammates.

FOX Sports, citing a source, reported the Rockies are in "ongoing trade talks" with the Orioles and Tigers involving Colorado's outfielders. Gonzalez rumors have been linked to the Orioles before.

In past talks, the Rockies have been interested in righty Kevin Gausman, whom the Orioles had little interest in dealing. In past years, the Rockies have had interest in righty prospects Hunter Harvey and Dylan Bundy. Both younger pitchers have dealt with injury -- Harvey hasn't pitched since late 2014 because of right forearm and elbow injuries as well as a right leg fracture, and Bundy made just eight Double-A starts last year because of shoulder and forearm issues -- but both received clean bills of health from the Orioles at their mini-camp Monday.

The Angels also could be interested, although Gonzalez's salary is prohibitive because the Angels may want to avoid a luxury tax. However, the salaries of Dickerson and Blackmon could be palatable to the Angels. The Rockies have talked to the Angels in the past about lefty Hector Santiago, who avoided arbitration with a $5 million deal Friday. The Angels also have a pair of younger starters who could fit a Rockies staff built for the long term -- righties Matt Shoemaker, with five years of club control, and Nick Tropeano, under club control for six years.

Parra has won Rawlings Gold Glove Awards in left field in 2011 and in right in 2013, and over his seven-season career, he has played 186 games in center, so the Rockies have flexibility.

Teams looking for outfield help all are potential trade partners. For example, the Tigers are seeking help in the outfield and at designated hitter. The Tigers have been looking for a low-cost solution, most recently Ryan Raburn, so whether they would bite on Gonzalez is questionable. The Tigers have three top pitching prospects who could be attractive -- top prospect righty Michael Fulmer has been treated as close to untouchable, and righty Matt Boyd and lefty Daniel Norris.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

Despite playing his entire career with clubs with hitter-friendly home parks, Parra has rarely been a standard mixed-league lineup fixture. But in a full-time role with the Rockies, Parra would warrant a late-round pick in those formats. The move to Coors Field -- arguably baseball's premier offense-inducing venue -- could provide a slight statistical uptick for the native Venezuelan, who is coming off a season in which he hit .291 with 14 homers, 14 steals and 83 runs scored.

Currently, Parra lacks a clear path to an everyday job in Colorado. If the Rockies were to maintain their roster to Opening Day, the 28-year-old would be relegated to a fourth-outfielder role behind fantasy studs Gonzalez, Blackmon and Dickerson. But given the Rockies offered Parra a significant contract, they may be planning an additional move that would shift him into a prominent role.