Cincinnati Reds in Review: RP Manny Parra

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Up next in our journey through the 45 players who manned the Cincinnati Reds roster in 2014 is left-handed reliever, Manny Parra.

Parra had all indications after 2013 that he was poised for a career-year in 2014, which justified inking him to a two-year/$5.5 million deal. After a season of extended periods of inactivity, Parra had a down year. He now looks towards 2015 to prove he still can be a member of an effective bullpen.

Manny Parra – Relief Pitcher

Very early in 2013, Manny Parra was pitching himself out of baseball. His effectiveness was still at an all-time low, he had no proven track record of getting outs in the bullpen, and he didn’t have that killer pitch he could neutralize left-handed batters with. Then came, the slider.

Parra has single-handedly made himself $5.5 million on one pitch. While his velocity has taken a nice bump up due to smoother mechanics, his slider is a devastating wipeout pitch not only against lefties, but right-handed batters as well. In 2014, in 23 fewer at-bats, Parra struck out just two fewer from the right side than the left.

All throughout 2014, he was low man on the totem pole. He could go a week without being used, asked about or heard from, and then would suddenly reappear. The angry, pessimistic fan growls about how he should be able to perform his job no matter when he is called on, but the logical one sits back and asks how Parra is expected to perform when pitching in just 53 games and 36.2 innings over the course of a 162-game schedule.

The free agent market has recently shown us the spoils of being left-handed. Last winter, the Colorado Rockies inked LOOGY (left-handed, one out only guy) Boone Logan to a 3-year/$16.5 million deal. This winter, the Chicago White Sox handed a pile of money, 3 years/$15 million to former Red, Zach Duke, who was out of a job in baseball just 14 months ago and has pitched an effective all of 58.2 innings in the last few seasons. The door is clearly open for Parra should he choose to seize it. The Redlegs will present him with every opportunity imaginable to prove that 2014 was just an aberration and that Parra will be the next in line for one of those unimaginable contracts.

Parra’s Stat Line:

0-3, 4.66 ERA, 53 G, 36.2 IP, 18 BB-34 K, 1.56 WHIP, .277 OAV, 4.25 FIP, 0.34 RA9def (basically, the Reds defense saved his backside)

Top Manny Parra Moment:

Does not giving up a run until April 15 count as a top moment? In the case of Parra, it was difficult to select a moment as he had so few defining appearances in 2014—except for one.

It was April 6 and I was sitting somewhere in the nosebleeds of Citi Field hoping and praying that Alfredo Simon’s first start as a Red wouldn’t be a complete waste of capital. Then, he threw seven innings of one-run baseball, and was promptly followed by Parra, who threw two innings of scoreless ball and struck out David Wright and Ike Davis in the ninth inning to end the game. Parra’s two-inning save would be his only of the year. It was also unequivocally his best performance.

Low Point of the Season for Manny Parra:

There were six separate appearances during the year in which Parra would allow multiple runs to cross the plate.

His kryptonite was the Atlanta Braves, who made him the loser on August 22 on Justin Upton’s two-run, game-winning home run in Cincinnati, and also on April 27 in Atlanta when Freddie Freeman took the second pitch he saw into center field for a walk-off base hit.

Final Grade: C-

Whether or not Manny Parra can be the answer as the left-handed reliever prior to Aroldis Chapman entering the game is going to be answered very early in the 2015 season, maybe even during Spring Training. With Sean Marshall still a giant question mark, the club will either have to roll with Parra, or turn to Ryan Dennick for help.

Owed $3.5 million this season, it’s difficult to imagine Parra not getting every chance available. He was consistent enough down the stretch in 2013 to merit the deal, but now the Reds need him to cash in on it.