If the Chicago White Sox miss out on one of the big three free agents, would it make sense to sign Gerardo Parra? Parra is a good defensive right fielder, with a cannon arm and is among the most underrated players in the game. Here are the pros and cons to signing Parra.
The reason teams win games is because of pitching and defense. It helps to have a good offense as well (which Parra brings), however Parra will stop runners from advancing on the base paths when they normally do.
To prove Parra’s arm strength, he has thrown out 72 runners in 966 career MLB games. If you do the math, he throws someone out in about 7% of his games. Right field is his best position, where he has a .989 career fielding percentage.
Good line drive/gap hitter
Even though Parra doesn’t walk much, he does make contact and drive the ball into the gaps. He hit 8 triples twice (’09,’11), and 43 doubles once (’13). He seems to have some of Bobby Abreu in him, which I would like. I understand he doesn’t have Abreu’s overall skill set (Bobby’s), but has some similarities to his game.
As mentioned above, Parra has totaled 8 triples at the big league level twice, not to mention has the ability to hit doubles. He has reached 15 stolen bases as well, and can play all three outfield positions.
Lack of Power
For a corner outfielder, Parra doesn’t hit for enough power. Parra is not really a center fielder by trade, not to mention the fact that Eaton is already the White Sox center fielder. Parra hit 14 home runs last year, which was a career high. I don’t think Parra gives you the power a right fielder should provide.
Lack of walks/OBP
Considering the fact that Parra isn’t a hitter that will drive the ball out of the ballpark, he probably isn’t getting on base at a high enough level. With a career OBP of .326, it is hard for him to find an actual spot in a lineup when he can’t hit home runs and isn’t a high on base percentage man. I realize he could be a #2 hitter considering his gap power, but he is a liability against LHP.
Can’t hit LHP
Parra can rake against righties, there is no doubt about that. Over the last three years, he is hitting .291 with 29 of his 33 home runs against them. The problem is once a lefty gets on the mound. Lefties give Parra fits, which would mean the White Sox would have serious problems if they put him in the #2 hole (.212 BA).
Hitting behind Eaton, he would draw lefties for both Eaton and himself making it too easy to pitch to Chicago. Since they can’t put him in the middle of the lineup, it would be hard to find a good spot for Parra to hit.
Overall, Parra could bring a lot of attributes to the table for the White Sox in 2016. However, with the way the lineup is currently constructed, it might make sense to make a trade for an outfielder instead of signing Parra. It isn’t that I don’t think Parra is a very good ballplayer, it is that he would not fit into this lineup and couldn’t help provide the team what it needs in order to win.