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Orioles acquire outfielder Parra from Milwaukee

Posted on 31 July 2015 by Luke Jones

Trying to improve a woeful corner outfield situation that’s plagued them all season, the Orioles have found their man hours before Friday’s trade deadline.

The Orioles acquired Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Zach Davies. Baltimore designated right-handed pitcher Bud Norris for assignment to temporarily make room for Parra on the 25-man roster.

The 28-year-old Venezuelan is in the midst of a career season at the plate, hitting .328 with nine home runs, 31 RBIs, 24 doubles, and an .886 on-base plus slugging percentage in 351 plate appearances. Parra hits and throws from the left side and was also a two-time Gold Glove outfielder with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has repeatedly stated a desire to acquire a corner outfielder in recent weeks after failing to adequately replace veterans Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis last offseason. The Orioles have also engaged in trade discussions for Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Ben Revere.

While Parra represents an upgrade over the likes of Travis Snider, Nolan Reimold, and David Lough in the outfield, the acquisition does not come without some risk as the outfielder will be a free agent this offseason and is only a .279 career hitter with a career .738 OPS, leading one to wonder if some regression to the mean could occur over the next two months. One of the biggest differences in Parra’s 2015 campaign compared to the rest of his career has been an improved ability to hit left-handed pitching (an .819 OPS in 53 plate appearances against southpaws compared to a .604 career mark).

Manager Buck Showalter will likely look to use Parra at the top of the order — especially against right-handed pitching — as he sports a .369 on-base percentage this season.

Davies was 5-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) spanning 101 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old right-hander was recently ranked as the No. 3 prospect in a thin Baltimore system by MLB.com.

It was widely known that the Orioles had little ammunition to make a major splash at the deadline with top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey both currently injured. The departure of Davies further depletes a farm system in need of major retooling, but Parra does fill a need for a push for a third trip to the postseason in four years.

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Will Orioles pull off trade for corner outfielder?

Posted on 30 July 2015 by Luke Jones

With the non-waiver trade deadline less than 24 hours away, the Orioles were engaged in discussions Thursday night trying to acquire corner outfield help in their push for their third playoff appearance in four years.

A source confirmed that executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette was attempting to acquire Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra. It is believed that the Orioles are offering right-handed pitching prospect Zach Davies, but it could take additional pitching such as Double-A Bowie right-hander Parker Bridwell to complete a deal.

Multiple outlets reported that the Orioles are also discussing a potential fit for Philadelphia outfielder Ben Revere. Entering Thursday, Revere was hitting .298 with a .335 on-base percentage and 24 stolen bases and would potentially serve as a leadoff hitter.

It’s no secret that the Orioles have lacked sufficient ammunition in their farm system to make a serious run at more notable outfielders such as Justin Upton and Carlos Gomez.

The left-handed Parra is having a career season at the plate with a .326 average, nine home runs, 24 doubles, and an .884 on-base plus slugging percentage entering Thursday’s action. However, he carries just a .737 career OPS, suggesting there could be some distinct regression to the norm over his final two months of play.

Previously with the Arizona Diamondbacks before being traded to Milwaukee last July, the 28-year-old is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Parra is making $6.24 million in 2015, meaning any club acquiring his services would be on the hook for just over $2 million without any cash considerations in a trade.

Revere is under club control through the 2017 season.

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Orioles turn back clock 30 years with win to pull into first-place tie

Posted on 29 September 2012 by Luke Jones

Upon completing a 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox Saturday night to pull into a first-place tie with the New York Yankees in the American League East, the Orioles are in a position they haven’t faced in 30 years.

The last time the Orioles were tied for first place this late in the season was Oct. 2, 1982 when Baltimore pulled even with the Milwaukee Brewers in the AL East on the penultimate day of the season. Entering that final four-game set with the division-leading Brewers at Memorial Stadium, the Orioles trailed by three games and needed a sweep to win the division in Earl Weaver’s final season as manager (before he returned to manage the club in 1985).

After winning the first three games of the series to pull even with Milwaukee, the Orioles fell short in that final game of the 1982 season as future Hall of Fame pitchers Don Sutton and Jim Palmer squared off in what resulted in a 10-2 win for the Brewers. Of course, the stakes were much higher then with no wild card spots and the Orioles needing to win to keep their season alive.

The Orioles enjoyed sole possession of first place this late in the 1983 and 1997 seasons, with no one challenging them in the final month of 1983 and the Yankees getting no closer than two games behind Baltimore in the final week of the 1997 campaign.

In the famed 1989 “Why Not?” campaign, the Orioles began the final series of the season in Toronto trailing by one game and needing to win two of three to force a one-game playoff with the Blue Jays — or win all three to take the division outright — but dropped the first two at SkyDome to fall just short of pulling off the impossible.

Though focused intently on winning the AL East, the Orioles’ magic number for clinching a wild card spot is down to two with four games to play, all but assuring them of their first postseason berth since 1997. However, the Oakland Athletics’ comeback victory over Seattle Saturday kept them one game behind the Orioles in the wild card race. Oakland holds the tiebreaker over the Orioles via their 5-4 record in the head-to-head series this season, meaning they would host the wild card play-in game on Friday should the Orioles not win the division and the teams finish with the same record.

Should the Orioles remain tied for first with the Yankees, the teams would play a tiebreaker game in Baltimore on Thursday that would be considered the 163rd game of the regular season to determine the division champion. The season series was tied 9-9 between the clubs, but the Orioles own the next tiebreaker to host the game by way of their superior division record. Baltimore owns a 41-27 mark against the AL East while New York is only 37-31 as both clubs play their final four games against AL East opponents.

Regardless of how the next four days play out, the Orioles are tied for first place at the conclusion of play on Sept. 29. They can clinch a spot in the postseason with a win and a loss by the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

Even typing those words makes it difficult to believe for a club from which so little was expected.

But believe it.

And buckle up.

 

 

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