Well, it’s time for @armchairrockies to stand corrected. We were 100% wrong about the idea of trading one Gerardo Parra. It’s not often that a guy in the second year of a three year deal makes the biggest change of his career to help his team, but it happened. The Colorado Rockies likely need to not only let him play out his contract but sign an extension keeping him here beyond the 2018 season.
Parra signed a three year $27.5 million dollar deal before the 2016 season, which made him the biggest signing the club had made before the season. What did Parra do with the big contract? He showed up to camp overweight and out of shape, before starting the season hitting .263 before an injury forced him to the DL. Though the first time on the DL, Parra returned to lackluster results, finishing the season hitting .253.
At one point during the 2016 season, the Colorado Rockies marriage with Parra looked like it was going to end as quickly as it started. Rockies hot outfield prospect David Dahl burst onto the season hitting .315 in 63 games to finish the season, looking like the incumbent starter for 2017.
Enter spring training 2017 and year two of the Parra contract. While being able to fill all three outfield positions in 2016, Parra also offered some flexibility for the club at first base. Without a reliable backup behind veteran Mark Reynolds, the Rockies leaned on Parra to fill the role. Different this season, however, was Parra. From day one it was noticeable that he lost weight and had a swagger about him that was different from the previous year.
Gerardo Parra came into training camp 12 pounds lighter with a reinvigoration for the game him loved. He knew that with incumbent Carlos Gonzalez manning right field, and Charlie Blackmon owning center, he would need to impress. Couple those two with the impressive 2016 from David Dahl, Parra knew he would have to be special to make an impact on 2017.
Good, but bad news looked to help Parra’s uncertain situation as Dahl had a serious injury with a stress reaction to his ribs three weeks before the season. This opened the door for Parra, which the spark plug has taken full advantage of since the jump.
When Parra is in the lineup for the Rockies, he has the same effect as Nolan Arenado; the crowd knows at some point something special is going to happen. Before signing in Denver, Parra was a bright spot in Arizona from 2009 to 2014, and though 2016 didn’t end up that way, 2017 did. For Colorado, Parra has been that guy, hitting .352, a full 100 points better than last season.
His energy, style, and overall talent every time he is in the lineup has taken this team to new heights. All of that contributes to his ability to be a role model for the rest of the club, for them to feed off of his energy to turn this currently losing skid around. Parra is driven by winning, both during the regular season and the offseason, and he will be damned if he isn’t doing everything he can to win.