Brewers trade for Gerardo Parra at deadline

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By Tom Haudricourt
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Milwaukee Brewers were able to check one item off their shopping list before the non-waiver trade deadline expired Thursday afternoon.

Filling a need for a left-handed-hitting outfielder with defensive versatility, the Brewers acquired two-time Gold Glove winner Gerardo Parra from Arizona for two minor leaguers, outfielder Mitch Haniger and left-hander Anthony Banda.

Parra, 27, is batting .259 with six home runs and 30 RBI in 104 games this season. He made 98 starts for the Diamondbacks, including 96 in right field and two in center.

Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2004, he played his entire career with Arizona, batting .274 with 39 homers and 250 RBI in 787 games. Known for his exceptional defense, Parra won National League Gold Glove Awards in left field (2011) and right field (2013). His 62 outfield assists since 2009 are tied for second in the major leagues, trailing only the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista (63).

“All three of our outfielders are right-handed,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. “Parra is a veteran guy who can give those guys a day off or be used in matchups against certain right-handed pitching. He’s a Gold Glover.

“He has experience at all three outfield positions. We got him to play and help us out. He hasn’t played quite as much as in the past because the Diamondbacks were experimenting with younger guys.”

Melvin looked hard for a late-inning reliever to augment his bullpen, particularly a right-hander, though he said he made a proposal for Boston lefty Andrew Miller, who was dealt to Baltimore. Melvin said he also proposed a trade with San Diego for righty Joaquin Benoit, who was not moved.

Melvin also checked in with Arizona on Addison Reed and Brad Ziegler as well as Colorado on LaTroy Hawkins.

“We talked but (the Diamondbacks) weren’t overly motivated to move them,” Melvin said. “Colorado didn’t want to move Hawkins.”

Though it requires waivers to trade players after July 31, Melvin said he would continue to look for relief help before the Aug. 31 deadline for postseason eligibility.

“We’ll look for anything we think can help us,” he said.

Though the Brewers were reported to have interest in Tampa Bay ace David Price and Boston ace Jon Lester, Melvin said those clubs wanted major-league players in return, which proved true when Lester was traded to Oakland and Price to Detroit in a three-team deal.

Melvin said he had no interest in trading the likes of pitchers Wily Peralta and Jimmy Nelson, second baseman Scooter Gennett or Khris Davis to acquire a frontline pitcher for the short term.

“We did try to do something big in a couple of areas, but we weren’t in on those guys,” Melvin said. “We had a couple opportunities (elsewhere). You look at different things but a lot of clubs want major league-ready players and we have prospects (available).

“We have minor-league players teams like a lot, but in the end, you see from the trades that took place, those teams wanted major league-ready guys. Our young major-league guys helped us get in first place.”

To make room for Parra on their roster, the Brewers optioned Logan Schafer to Class AAA Nashville. Schafer was expected to be the left-handed-hitting fourth outfielder to back up the three starters but failed to contribute offensively, batting .183 with a .267 on-base percentage.

“Logan did struggle with the bat,” Melvin said. “He did get some hits for us at times. Sometimes, it’s a little tougher for a younger player in that role. Logan is an outstanding defensive player. We were looking for more offense to match up against some right-handers.”

Melvin said Parra would be used to give centerfielder Carlos Gomez and rightfielder Ryan Braun days off when needed but is likely to see more action in left field, where Khris Davis is the primary starter. Davis is batting .319 with a .962 OPS against left-handed pitchers compared to .232 with a .723 OPS against righties.

Parra is a career .286 hitter with a .760 OPS against right-handed pitchers compared to .233 with a .590 OPS vs. lefties.

“It’s not a platoon situation or anything like that, but we can find enough playing time for him,” Melvin said.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Parra, the Brewers moved reliever Tyler Thornburg from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Parra cannot be a free agent until after the 2015 season. He has a $4.85 million salary this season, so the Brewers would be picking up about $1.6 million.

Parra said he was “a little bit surprised” to be traded but said he looked forward to the chance to play for a first-place team.

“This is a good opportunity to play for Milwaukee. I will do my best to help them win. I’m happy. The Diamondbacks were not playing well, but I say thank you to them for my opportunity. But I’m happy to play for a team in first place.”

As for the outfield situation in Milwaukee, “I don’t want to think about that now. I just want to play hard no matter where the manager uses me. I want to play every day and do what I can to help the team win. I can play in all three outfield positions.”

Haniger, 24, was selected by the Brewers in the supplemental first round of the 2012 draft and was considered one of the organization’s top prospects. He batted .255 with 10 homers and 34 RBI in 67 games at Class AA Huntsville while dealing with an elbow injury.

“We like Haniger but we’re right-handed in the outfield,” Melvin said. “You hate to give up any young players. But we’re also young at the big-league level.”

Banda, 20, was selected by the Brewers in the 10th round of the 2012 draft. He was 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA and two saves in 20 games (14 starts) at Class A Wisconsin.


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