The Milwaukee Brewers have made a move before Thursday’s 3 p.m. Central non-waiver trading deadline, sending two minor leaguers to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for two-time Gold Glove winning outfielder Gerardo Parra.
The Brewers made the deal official via Twitter:
The #Brewers have acquired OF Gerardo Parra from Arizona in exchange for OF Mitch Haniger and LHP Anthony Banda.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 31, 2014
Milwaukee gives up outfielder Mitch Haniger, who had been playing at Double-A Huntsville, and left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda, who had been at Class-A Wisconsin. Parra, 27, has won Gold Gloves at two outfield positions, winning in left field in 2011 and in right field in 2013.
This season, he is hitting .259/.305/.362 in 104 games and 440 plate appearances, with 51 runs, 18 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 30 RBI, five stolen bases and 72 strikeouts.
He originally signed with the Diamondbacks as an international free agent from Venezuela in 2004 and made his major league debut with Arizona in 2009.
For Arizona this season, Parra had started 96 games in right field and two in center.
According to general manager Doug Melvin, Parra brings balance to the lineup and a second Gold Glove outfielder to the Brewers, joining All-Star center fielder Carlos Gomez.
“The addition of Parra gives us a veteran player who helps to balance our lineup and also brings Gold Glove defense,” Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
For his career, Parra is a .274/.326/.395 hitter in 787 games, with 39 career homers, 250 RBI, 31 triples and 51 stolen bases. He led the National League in stolen base percentage in 2011, nabbing 15 in 16 attempts, but is just 5-for-10 this year on the basepaths.
Haniger, 23, was a first-round pick by the Brewers out of Cal Poly with a supplemental pick in 2012. He was hitting .255/.316/.416 at Huntsville with 41 runs, 10 homers and 34 RBI in 67 games.
He was one of the breakout players in the Arizona Fall League last year, hitting .280/.354/.480 with eight doubles, four homers and 24 RBI in 25 games.
Haniger was No. 8 on the just-updated list of top prospects in the Milwaukee organization, according to MLB.com.
Banda, 20, was a 10th-round pick out of San Jacinto College in Houston in 2012 and is 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.458 WHIP in 20 appearances, 14 of them starts, and 83.2 innings for Wisconsin. He has a pair of saves and has fanned 83 batters.
Parra was happy to be coming to a contender.
“This is a good opportunity to play for Milwaukee,” Parra told the Journal Sentinel. “I will do my best to help them win. I’m happy. The Diamondbacks were not playing well but I say thank you to them for my opportunity. But I’m happy to play for a team in first place.”
To make room for Parra on the active roster, the Brewers optioned outfielder Logan Schafer to Triple-A Nashville and to create a spot on the 40-man roster, right-hander Tyler Thornburg was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
The Brewers don’t appear to be looking at Parra as an everyday player, but rather as the fourth outfielder Schafer was unable to be.
Schafer just didn’t produce offensively for the Brewers, hitting .183/.267/.288 in 53 games and 119 plate appearances this year, with 11 runs, nine doubles, a triple, six RBI and 26 strikeouts. Pressed into extended playing time in 2013 because of Ryan Braun’s injury and suspension, Schafer batted just .211/.279/.322 in 134 games and 337 plate appearances last season, with 29 runs, 15 doubles, three triples, four homers, 33 RBI and 60 Ks.
Parra didn’t want to discuss the seemingly crowded outfield in Milwaukee.
“I don’t want to think about that now,” Parra said. “I just want to play hard no matter where the manager uses me. I want to play every day and do what I can to help the team win. I can play in all three outfield positions.”
Haniger said a fond farewell before leaving for his new organization:
Thanks to the brew crew for everything. Pumped to be heading to the DBacks! Gonna miss all the great friends I’ve made the past 2 years!
— Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19) July 31, 2014
Parra would certainly be an upgrade defensively in left field for Parra, particularly with his throwing arm. He led the NL with 17 outfield assists last season and his eight outfield assists leads the NL this year, as well.
Given that Khris Davis is considered to have a poor throwing arm in left field, it’s something to ponder, anyway.
If only Davis could play first base.