According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, outfielder Gerardo Parra is on the Cubs radar. The Cubs were believed to be interested in Parra prior to the deadline last summer. And he could be an option to fill the team’s need for a centerfielder.
The Cubs are exploring free agents and trade possibilities to find a solution for center field. Dexter Fowler rejected the team’s qualifying offer and is not expected to return. Fowler will receive a longer term deal for more money from another team than the Cubs are willing to commit to him.
Gerardo Parra is coming off an excellent year offensively, the second best season of his career. In 155 games between the Brewers and Orioles, Parra batted .291/.328/.452 with 36 doubles, five triples and a career-high 14 home runs for a .780 OPS.
Parra improved his stock with the Brewers and batted .328/.369/.517 with a .886 OPS in 100 games before struggling with the Orioles. In 146 games over two seasons with Milwaukee, Parra hit .312/.355/.482 with a .837 OPS.
Over his career Parra has struggled against left handed pitching and managed just a .238/.296/.362 slash line versus southpaws this past season.
The Cubs value Parra’s versatility according to Patrick Mooney. Parra can play all three outfield spots and bats left handed. Plus he will only be 29 years old next season.
Gerardo Parra is viewed as a fourth outfielder on a good team, especially one that considers itself a contender. Parra could serve as a platoon partner and possibly a late-inning defensively replacement.
Even without an everyday role, Jim Bowden thinks Parra will sign a three-year contract in the $25 million range with a possible AAV of $8.5 million.
The Cubs are reportedly interested in Denard Span, especially if Scott Boras’ client would take a short-term contract to rebuild his value after missing a majority of the 2015 season due to injury. The Cubs have also been linked to free agent Austin Jackson, who spent the last month of the season and the playoffs in a backup role for Joe Maddon.
There are conflicting reports on the Cubs interest in Jackson. For every report that indicates Jackson is an option for the Cubs in center on a short-term contract, there is one that says the front office is not looking to re-sign him.
Theo Epstein told Comcast SportsNet, “We’ve brainstormed a number of trade possibilities for center field, as well as other free agents and had some dialogue, but not that’s really moved down the field yet.”
The Cubs have been linked to Brett Gardner and most recently Jackie Bradley Jr. on the trade front. And if there is interest and both the Yankees and Red Sox are looking for pitching in return for their outfielders, the Cubs would not match-up in a deal for either player.
The Cubs excess prospect currency is in on the position player side. The front office is trying to add pitching to the big league roster and throughout the system, not trade away what is in the organization.