The Reds signed Manny Parra just 11 days before pitchers and catchers reported to Goodyear, A.Z. for Spring Training. It was a move that could have been easily overlooked by fans or for fans that did notice the signing, it could have been one questioned and ridiculed.
In fact, it was by many Reds fans.
At the time, however, the uproar was understandable. The Reds were in theory replacing Aroldis Chapman, who was at the time still moving into the rotation, with Manny Parra as a lefty specialist in the bullpen that posted the Majors lowest ERA last season.
Parra, who had spent his entire career with the Brewers until this year, went 2-3 with a 5.06 ERA in 2012. He walked 13% of batters faced. In addition, he missed the prior season due to injury and coming into this year owned MLB’s worst-career BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) of any pitcher with at least 500 innings pitched with a .337 average.
When it was time to leave Arizona for Cincinnati, Parra was on the roster much to the chagrin of many Reds fans.
He didn’t help endear himself to the fans early on in the season. Parra ended April 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA. His ERA was 8.44 on June 7th.
However, since then Parra’s ERA has been on a steady downward spiral and he has become a valuable asset to the Reds bullpen.
As it sits today, Parra’s ERA is 3.21 and lefty’s are hitting a paltry .159 against him on the year. His walks are also down to the tune of only walking 6.5% of batters faced this year.
Furthermore and most importantly, Parra has been huge coming out of the bullpen down the stretch. This month Parra has posted a 1.23 ERA with a 0.95 WHIP.
Parra has now proved to Reds fans that he is reliable and could very easily help the team come playoff time. He’s also taught fans the lesson that it doesn’t always have to be a huge signing that can change a pennant race.