With Dexter Fowler declining the Cubs’ qualifying offer on Friday, it is possible the team will move on and begin looking at external options at filling the vacated spot in center field.
Gerardo Parra is a name that seems to be on that list. CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney mentions Parra as an option in the free agency market as he comes off a season in which he hit .291 with a .780 OPS while splitting time with the Brewers and Orioles.
Parra set career highs in home runs (14) and slugging percentage (.452) in 2015 and did most of his best work on offense in Milwaukee. Before being traded to the Orioles, Parra slashed .328/.369/.517/.886 in 351 plate appearances. However, he slumped in the 55 games he played after the deal, slashing .237/.268/.357/.625 with an OPS+ of 69 in 238 plate appearances.
The left-handed hitting Parra has done much of his damage against right-handed pitching in his career. He has a .289/.335/.432/.767 in 2,832 plate appearances against righties. Against lefties, Parra is slashing .232/.296/.302/.597 in 801 plate appearances.
Parra-for-Fowler wouldn’t be a direct swap, as both players have different offensive skills. Parra’s 6.4 percent career walk rate shows he doesn’t walk nearly as much as Fowler. But his 17.0 percent strikeout rate, which tumbled steadily from 19.3 percent in 2010 to 15.6 percent in 2015, suggests he won’t strikeout as much as Fowler did.
Unlike Fowler, much of Parra’s value is tied into his versatility and fielding. He is a two-time Gold Glove winner whose most recent award came in 2013, a season in which he posted a 4.0 dWAR. However, he has posted a -2.4 dWAR in the last two seasons.
Even then, Parra’s 30 Defensive Runs Saved is the 10th most among outfielders.
Parra has shown his versatility over the course of his career while playing 3,092.1 innings in left field, 2,958.2 innings in center and 1,386.2 innings in right.
This isn’t the first time the Cubs have been tied to Parra. His name came up in rumors around the trade deadline as the Cubs checked in on options in an attempt to upgrade their offense.
And until he signs with a team, this probably won’t be the last time the Cubs and Parra are connected.