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Gerardo Parra signs a minor league deal

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In case you were wondering: no, he has not already been a Giant.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants built up their outfield depth a bit more today by signing former Rocky and former Diamondback Gerardo Parra to a minor league deal (no terms of the major league component as of this writing). This is great news for Parra and his family and even greater news for fans who have been rooting for Farhan Zaidi’s Bitcoin approach to the offseason.

At some point, these tiny investments might explode in value. Parra is coming off a 3-year deal in Colorado wherein he put up an 80 OPS+ (.320 OBP) over 359 games, 181 of which were in Coors Field! He’s had exactly two seasons of above league average OPS+, in fact — 2011 and 2015 — but his reputation has always leaned a bit more in towards “elite defense” — 29th in Defensive Runs Saved over the past two seasons, just a few runs fewer than A.J. Pollock, who signed a big deal with the Dodgers. Still, for a team that’s set up to struggle to score runs, adding another low bat player feels unnecessary

However! The people running the Giants are much smarter than me and bringing in a not-too-old veteran to compete for a job that’s in the roster’s weak spot is not a bad thing. Putting Parra in either corner spot alongside Duggar would at least give the team the chance to suppress runs —

Okay, that was just one moment. If he makes the team, he won’t need to apologize for it. He will be the one in need of an apology... from this fan:

Well, it sure seemed like Farhan Zaidi’s recent comments about the team wanting to add two more outfielders now that the market might’ve come back to them a bit signaled that the Giants could potentially be in the hunt for a big bat like Bryce Harper — and certainly, visiting Bryce in Las Vegas proved that out — signing a major leaguer to a minor league deal would also fit Zaidi’s comments.

Here’s Blanco Parra’s competition:

2019 OF adds

Player 2019 Age MiLB At Bats MiLB steals MiLB slash
Player 2019 Age MiLB At Bats MiLB steals MiLB slash
Drew Ferguson 26 1278 65 .297 / .393 / .455
John Andreoli 29 2763 247 .270 / .373 / .388
Mike Gerber 26 1937 45 .279 / .346 / .468
Anthony Garcia 27 2992 39 .259 / .347 / .450
Jeffrey Baez 25 2204 203 .261 / .331 / .408
Steven Duggar 25 1216 42 .287 / .377 / .425

Blanco Parra will be in his age-32 season. For his MLB career: 4,487 at bats, 88 SBs, .278 / .325 / .405.

[Edited to add: And he’ll have to compete with my brain wanting to compare him to Gregor Blanco. Both left-handed, both outfielders, both from Venezuela. But on stats alone, Blanco’s career .338 OBP bests Parra’s career .325, and Parra could never replace Gregor Blanco in our hearts.]

Jon Heyman expanded upon his initial tweet report to mention this:

Could the market have simply adjusted to the point where players the Giants wanted to sign to minor league deals are now more open to signing them than they were a couple of months ago? Is that what the team has been waiting out all along? And if that’s the case, does that make a Carlos Gonzalez signing more likely than a Bryce Harper?