When assessing the free-agent outfield market, many teams viewed Gerardo Parra as the ideal "Plan B" option. Now that the holidays are over and some prominent names remain unsigned, could it be time to make a serious move for the two-time Gold Glove winner?
The Washington Nationals are still searching for a center fielder and have "made contact" with Parra, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. A deal would mark a reunion with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who signed Parra to a contract in 2004 when he was Arizona's scouting director.
The Nationals are not convinced that Michael Taylor is ready to be an everyday center fielder and feel he might be more suited to a backup role. The Nats also have not closed the door on re-signing free agent Denard Span, who endured an injury-plagued 2015 season.
Jon Heyman reported last week that seven or eight teams were interested in Parra, identifying the Colorado Rockies as a "serious pursuer." The situation in Colorado remains a fluid one amid speculation the Rockies might be willing to deal Carlos Gonzalez.
The Kansas City Royals have been linked to Parra in the event they are unable to re-sign Alex Gordon. The upper-tier free-agent market essentially has stalled after the Chicago Cubs signed Jason Heyward, leaving Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton still looking for work.
The 28-year-old Parra hit a combined .291/.328/.452 for the Brewers and Orioles last season, although his offensive production slipped in his 55-game stay in Baltimore. There also is some question as to whether Parra has slipped defensively. His Defensive Runs Saved dipped to minus-10 last season. He was a plus-41 for the Diamondbacks in 2013.
Our rumors roundup continues with some free-agent pitchers looking for work:
Edwin Jackson: The Marlins are “closing in” on a deal with Jackson to serve as either as a back-of-the-rotation starter or a long reliever, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Jackson had a dismal 5.37 ERA in three seasons with the Cubs before being released. Chicago is on the hook for the bulk of the $13 million remaining on his contract for 2016, with the Marlins responsible only for the major league minimum. Jackson's up-and-down career includes an eight-walk, 149-pitch no-hitter for the D-backs in 2010.
Doug Fister: The free-agent right-hander is said to have one- and two-year offers from multiple teams, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Teams are likely looking for a bargain with Fister, whose ERA spiked to a career-worst 4.19 last season in Washington. The Marlins, already pursuing a low-buy option in Jackson, are among the teams that have been linked to Fister.
Howie Kendrick: A Monday report by Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com said the Arizona Diamondbacks are having “on-going discussions” with the free-agent second baseman, although no deal is close. The D-backs, however, may already be out on Kendrick altogether because GM Dave Stewart does not want to surrender another draft pick after losing a high selection for signing free agent Zack Greinke, according to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Chris Owings is the leading internal option at second base. The D-backs made a play earlier this offseason for the Reds’ Brandon Phillips.
Antonio Bastardo: The Mets and Orioles are among the teams interested in the southpaw reliever, says ESPN’s Buster Olney. The 30-year-old free agent had a strong second half last season for the Pirates (2.38 ERA, .142 BAA).
Tim Lincecum: The two-time Cy Young Award winner will have a showcase for teams later this month to demonstrate he has recovered from hip surgery in September. A majority of teams have checked in with Lincecum’s representatives, but a return to San Francisco is unlikely following the Giants’ signings of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.