According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Oakland A’s and oft-injured pitcher Jarrod Parker have avoided arbitration thanks to a one-year, 850,000 deal. It’s been a rough few seasons for the former top prospect, who has dealt with his second Tommy John surgery and an elbow fracture as of late.
Even with these setbacks in his career though, Parker is still only entering his age-27 season. It’s been so long since fans have seen Jarrod appear in a regular season game that he’s become a bit of a forgotten piece in many baseball minds. But if he can return to being the guy he was prior to all this misfortune, he’ll be right back in the middle of things.
Only $425,000 of Parker’s contract is currently guaranteed for the upcoming season. This gives the A’s a little protection just in case he falls off the wagon again and isn’t able to go anytime soon. If Oakland is hoping to make some noise again next season, they’ll likely need Parker to contribute towards their starting rotation for the first time since 2013.
In 62 starts dating back to 2011, Jarrod has posted a solid 3.68 ERA with a 6.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. At the time of his success, people were looking at Parker as a future top of the rotation starter. He wasn’t dominating the league by any means, but he was showing a talent for continued growth. That is exactly what general managers across the MLB dream about when pursuing young arms to add to their team.
It’s tough to predict at this point in what direction Jarrod’s career might go. Even with how far Tommy John surgery has come over the years, you never know what Parker may look like when he finally gets an extended chance. Then when throwing other arm related injuries into the mix, it makes the situation even worse. Those development years Jarrod badly needed were just lost. It may take some time for him to find his comfort level in the majors again. At this point though, he may not have that kind of time to fully rebound.
The 2016 season is quickly approaching, and it seems Jarrod will be ready to try and get back on the horse during spring training. According to A’s manager Bob Melvin, the team is planning to stretch him out as a starter.
Hopefully after all the issues Parker has been forced to go through, he can get back to carving his own path at the major league level. It’d be a shame to see all this recovery time and frustration put to waste. It may take a little more than a good camp for Jarrod to immediately be back in the majors though. Some time for him at AAA would be smart so that he can get comfortable with a professional baseball schedule once again.
Not many fans understand the rigors that come along with being in the bigs. Pitching here and there over two years isn’t enough for anyone to be ready to let loose on a regular basis again. The main focus is keeping Parker healthy at this point, nothing else. He can’t afford another major injury if he hopes to make a name for himself in baseball again anytime soon.