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The signing of Manny Parra: The Reds Could Have Done Better

July 18, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Manny Parra (26) during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds’ recent signing of southpaw pitcher Manny Parra is interesting if not mis-guided. In the comments section of a recent article I ‘shot from the hip’ and made a comment without doing any research. I said that I thought it was a good pickup. I shall eat my words.

For a million bucks you may expect a little more than a +5 ERA. Perhaps Walt Jocketty knows something the rest of us do not. The Reds could really use a lefty in the bullpen but I believe we could have done better.

Season this with the fact that I thought the waiver signing at the eleventh hour of Alfredo Simon in 2012 was a terrible move. He, in fact turned out to be a pleasant surprise, even if he did prolong the appearance of Todd Frazier.

Parra, 30, has five years experience all with the Brewers. He has a record of 26-33 with an unattractive, if not ugly ERA of 5.12. In 2008 and ’09 he averaged 28 starts for the Brewers. On the wrong side of the ledger he led the league in wild pitches in 2008 with 17 in 166 innings. In 2010 he threw 14 in only 122 innings.

In 2011 Parra didn’t pitch at all in the major leagues, and only appeared in 12 innings in the minor leagues, due to injuries to his elbow and back. He didn’t bounce back like the Brewers would have hoped in 2012 only offering 58+ innings of service, with two wins and an ERA over 5.

He walks more batters than he should but he is a tad better than the league average in giving up the long ball. His career numbers in BAbip is way above the norm, .342 to .299.

His career splits do not indicate that he would be a decent LOOGY as lefties are hitting him to the tune of .267/.349/.417.

My only memory of him in seeing Prince Fielder push him around in the dugout several years ago. I don’t know what that was about but it couldn’t be anything good. Bad teammate?

Usually Jocketty knows what he is doing, so perhaps he strongly believes Parra is due for an upswing in his career. I can only hope that is the case, because this was not a minor league signing like that of Miguel Olivo.

Topics: Cincinnati Reds, Manny Parra

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  • Josh Bresser

    Watching Parra pitch, he has really good stuff. Some of his pitches are downright nasty, but he just has trouble finding the zone with it. Even with his lack of command, he still has a relatively good strikeout rate. I think Bryan Price can really help him here, and if anyone can help him sort out his command issues, it’s him.

    Not to mention that Parra is due for some change in luck. You mentioned his BABIP, which is the highest career BABIP currently in the majors. Going from the Brewers defense to the Reds defense can’t hurt him. Plus, in this case, going to GABP could actually help his HR rate (Miller Park was the only park with a home run factor higher than GABPs.)

    He did hold lefties to a .229 avg and .635 OPS last year (including relative dominance of Joey Votto.) His career .260 BAA against lefties might be a bit misleading, since last season was his first season as being a full time reliever and not a starter.

    Not that I think this is a great signing, mind you (I mentioned previously on another article that I thought there were better options available) but I don’t think that Parra will be as awful as he was in Milwaukee. As a LOOGY, I’d expect an ERA of around 3.50 from him.

    • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

      Thanks for commenting Josh, and BTW welcome aboard! I appreciate the research that went into your response and I believe you are accurate in saying that Price could help him if anyone can.

      He does have an excellent strikeout rate, however his wildness is on the fringe of frightening. He finished eight games last year without a save. He had two blown saves, nine holds and suffered two losses. He must have been used a good deal in mop-up fashion.

      I would hope that the change of venue suits him and that he has a good season, providing he makes it out of camp.

      • Josh Bresser

        Yeah, I was looking at some of his metrics from last year.

        He had a FIP of 3.62, an xFIP of 4.11 and a SIERA of 3.88. With some normalized luck, improved control (hopefully with the help of Price), and only facing one batter at a time for most games (as a LOOGY, which he really wasn’t for the Brewers last year), he could actually be a solid reliever.

        Also, thanks for the welcome!

  • metalhead65

    do the reds have any plans to develop any of their own guys or is the plan to keep adding other teams rejects and hope they come up with career years for the reds? maybe they do need a lefty but unless there is some rule that dictates they must have more than 1 then go with what you have if you can’t get any better than guys like this.how do they expect guys in their system to do anything if they are not given a chance? from bench players to pitchers give them a chance instead of wasting money on washed up guys like this.

    • Josh Bresser

      I wouldn’t say Parra is washed up, considering that he’s never really peaked.

      • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

        Did I say he was washed up? I wasn’t going that far, at least I didn’t think I did.

        • Josh Bresser

          no no I was talking about the guy above who said he was washed up- ‘from bench players to pitchers give them a chance instead of wasting money on washed up guys like this.’

          • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

            Oh yeah, I don’t think he’s washed up yet either. He hasn’t even hit a stride, so it would be hard to fall from that.

    • http://twitter.com/JordanBarhorst Jordan Barhorst

      banking on prospects thriving at the big league level is, in my opinion, more risky than going with an unproven guy already pitching at the major league level.

      The worst that happens here is he flops and we call up one of our really good righty relievers up from AAA. There are no rules that say we have to have a non-setup lefty in the ‘pen, but Dusty likes to have his opening day roster look very traditional.

      • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

        Thanks for your comments Jordan. I agree that it is more of a risk bringing up someone without experience as opposed to hiring someone who has had OJT. That’s true about Dusty but to my thinking, tradition puts at least one southpaw in the rotation, and as of yet, we haven’t seen that of Dusty. I realize we should expect it this year but until then…
        I know there are teams without a southpaw in the rotation, but a team like the Nats, with a pretty even split, makes it nice.

    • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

      That is a good question. You could look at Chris Heisey and scratch your head wondering if he will ever get a “chance”. But then you can look at Todd Frazier and think that the hard work does pay off. As far as pitchers go, you are looking at a pretty bad split in the bullpen of home grown and pick-ups.

      The pickups being Broxton, Marshall, Arredondo, Hoover, Simon and Masset. The homeboys are LeCure, Ondrusek, As for starters of course the have brought in Arroyo and Latos, Leake of course played without being in the minors but he was a draft pick. The homeboys being Cuetto and Bailey, and Chapman in the same mold as Leake. So I would say that is a legitimate question for guys like Cingrani and Corcino.

      Thanks for your comments.

  • http://twitter.com/JordanBarhorst Jordan Barhorst

    Nice article, Cliff. I completely agree with you at face value. However, as might have been the case with Simon, I think sometimes guys just need to be on a winning team to thrive. As a major league ball player, this guy has probably been on winning teams all his life, and losing was probably a little unnerving. Now that Parra gets to be a part of a proven division winner, I’m hoping he gets the pressure of having to win all the time off his back.

    • Cliff@RedsToTheBone

      Thanks for the kind words Jordan. I think you are right about him needing a new place, and like Simon maybe it will happen this year.