The Kansas City Royals are well known for their outfield defense. However, they are likely to lose their poster boy of that model in Alex Gordon to free agency. Gordon has been an All-Star each of the past three seasons and has won Gold Gloves each year from 2011-14. The defending World Series champions will enter 2016 with Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson, and Paulo Orlando as the only outfielders on their roster who have received solid playing time at the major league level with the team as currently constructed. Clearly, this is a position of need for Kansas City.
Gerardo Parra should be a target for the Royals because he fits the team’s defensive philosophy like a glove (no pun intended).
Parra, 29 in May, has won two Gold Gloves in his career — in 2011 and 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The lefty was acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers at the trade deadline in 2014 for a pair of minor leaguers and was shipped again at this year’s deadline to the Baltimore Orioles for right-handed pitcher Zach Davies. Because of this, he was not eligible to receive a qualifying offer, so the Royals will not need to sacrifice their first-round draft pick to sign Parra. He has experience playing in all three outfield positions, which would give the Royals the option to play him in either outfield corner with Cain manning center field. He has played the majority of his career in left field, however, and that seems like the ideal spot for him if Kansas City were to bring him in.
The Venezuela native is a career .277 hitter who gets on base at a .326 clip. He has only amassed over 100 strikeouts just twice in his career but he does not draw too many walks either. He is an excellent contact hitter and consistently puts the ball in play, proving that he is also a fit with the Royals’ offensive approach. He will not produce the same power that Gordon had, but the Royals value defense and contact over power, making this a perfect fit.
Losing one of the best players in franchise history will not be easy for the Royals and their fans, but Parra will be a cheaper alternative to Gordon who will fit right into their lineup and make the transition away from the Alex Gordon era in left field a little easier.