The Milwaukee Brewers announced today that they will not be tendering a contract to Manny Parra in advance of tonight’s deadline to do so. This mean that Parra, 30, will become a free agent tomorrow.
The writing has been on the wall, as they say, for some time regarding the likelihood of this move. I wrote about it earlier this week (which you can read here: http://wp.me/p1wIvV-98Nx) and said that Parra was the likely guy to be in trouble.
No doubt exists that Doug Melvin attempted to trade Parra once they knew that they wouldn’t be tendering him a contract, but the same reasons that the Brewers used to justify cutting ties are the same reasons that every other team would use to not give something up for him.
- He’s been inconsistent.
- He’s arbitration-eligible (third time) this off-season which means he’s due a significant enough raise this off-season despite his mediocre performance.
The Brewers have shown a ton of patience with Parra in the hopes that he would develop into at least a capable bullpen option who could be used in more than just LOOGy situations after he floundered in the rotation.
That being said, Parra has been an overall success story in a manner of speaking for the Brewers. Originally a 26th round draft pick, those aren’t the kinds of guys you usually expect to reach the major leagues let alone have any kind of discernible impact.
As for the situation his non-tendering leaves the Brewers in? They now have no left-hander in the bullpen again (just as in 2011). The 40-man roster will now stand at 38 with Parra’s forthcoming departure.
There are also currently four jobs up for grabs in the Brewers’ bullpen. Only John Axford, Jim Henderson, and Brandon Kintzler are set to return from 2012’s group.
***MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy spoke with Manny Parra about the non-tendering. Some highlights follow but for McCalvy’s full column with all of Parra’s quotes, click here.***
“I prepared myself for it, so more than anything I’ll miss being considered a Brewer, because I’ve been one for so long,” he said. “Not only that, but I have so much respect for Doug [Melvin] and Gord [Ash] and the way they do things. They’ve given me so many opportunities.
“At the same time … being a starter — a failed starter, in my opinion — I feel like no matter what I did, I was always being compared to what kind of a starter I was. … I’m excited to move on and improve and be a better player.
“I was never able to let it go,” he said. “I just beat myself up a lot. … I’m really trying to change the way I think.”
“I just keep telling myself I’m a late bloomer. I always have been in my life. I’m 30 years old now, but I’m just going to remain positive and believe that I’m going to keep getting better. What else can you do?”
He added: “I like the idea of being able to sick with the organization you were drafted by for as long as you can and reward them for giving me the opportunities. But there comes a time when you have to move on, and this is it.”
Midnight EST on Friday is the next milestone in the off-season as all teams must decide whether to tender contracts to players under team control but who do not have a fixed contract value for 2013. This can lead to arbitration, to long-term contract talks, to a simple one-year deal or possibly even to a trade. Player who aren’t tendered become free agents and can sign with any team.
Often times a player is non-tendered because his cost outweighs his value. Non-tendered players are free to re-sign with their original team. This occurs to reduce cost associated with a player’s years of arbitration eligibility.
The Brewers began the off-season with a handful of non-tender candidates. Nearly all of them have since been designated for assignment and subsequently released (or they refused a minor-league assignment with the same effect). The Brewers do have a relatively high-profile non-tender candidate remaining, however…
Eventually a well-regarded prospect after being taken in the 26th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft back in 2001, Parra is now a 30-year-old southpaw relief pitcher who doesn’t exactly get left-handed hitters out like he should if he were to focus his efforts.
It can be accurately stated that over the course of his career Parra fares better against lefties than he does against right-handed hitters. This is reflected in his career splits of .267/.349/.417/.766 against .290/.371/.438/.809. It’s also accurate that in his first season where he only pitched out of the bullpen, Parra beat his career averages.
Therein lies the question which must be answered by Doug Melvin et al. Should Parra become a LOOGy and, if so, how much is he worth (financially) in that role?
Parra has had a bit of relative success against right-handed hitters when you compare him to a “standard” LOOGy. What you have to ask yourself if you’re Melvin is whether Parra is consistently successful enough to continue to warrant a role where he faces multiple hitters are varying handedness in a given appearance.
I personally don’t think so and I would completely understand if Melvin and field manager Ron Roenicke altered Parra’s role in 2013…assuming he’s with the team.
That’s the other question. If Parra, who is arbitration-eligible, isn’t worth the usual increase by way of the arbitration process. This is Parra’s second year of arbitration eligibility. Parra made $1.2 million in 2012* which isn’t all that much in the grand scheme of things. With the premium on bullpen arms, especially given that it could be argued that Parra has added value in that some might feel he could still start games, a 2013 salary of $1.75 million or more wouldn’t shock me.
So Parra isn’t as pressing of an issue as Jose Veras, Kameron Loe, and Nyjer Morgan were, for example. Each of those players were projected for new salaries of over $2.5 million. In other words, if the Brewers decide to keep Manny Parra for 2013, it works financially on its own merit. Putting everything together though with production determining value for that cost is what Melvin and company are no doubt weighing.
The other thing to note about the non-tender deadline is that there will be players released by other teams, some of which might be appealing to the Brewers. It could be a cheaper way to fill some of these bullpen roles which currently stand open for Milwaukee. If they do cut ties with Parra (and then don’t bring him back) the Brewers really only have three players currently in the bullpen. They are John Axford, Jim Henderson, and Brandon Kintzler.
They’ll need help. They’d do well for at least one piece of the help to throw the pill with his left hand. Will that be Parra? Stay tuned.