Washington Nationals' Interest In Gerardo Parra Comes Up Again, Despite D-Backs' Denials.

March 20, 2012; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Gerardo Parra (front, right) hits a two-run home run in front of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (front, center) during the first inning at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona D-Backs' outfielder Gerardo Parra was 2 for 6 with a home run and two RBI's over the last two Spring Training games against the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers. So far this Spring the 24-year-old 2011 Gold Glove-winning left fielder has a .333/.360/.500 Cactus League line with two doubles, two home runs, two walks and 10 K's in 17 games and 48 at bats after a 2011 season in which he had a .292/.357/.427 line with 20 doubles, eight triples and eight HR's in 141 games and 493 at bats over which he was worth +2.8 fWAR. Three years, 394 games and 1,377 at bats after the Venezuelan-born left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder signed as an amateur free agent (while D.C. GM Mike Rizzo was the D-Backs' director of scouting), Parra has a .282/.331/.403 line as a major leaguer. The rumors about Arizona potentially trading Parra began shortly after the team signed free agent outfielder Jason Kubel this winter, though D-Backs' officials have maintained all along that the signing didn't mean they'd be dealing Parra...

According to CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler (@DKnobler) the Washington Nationals had scouts in the stands for the last two D-Backs' games, though he doesn't explicitly state that the Nats' scouts were there to watch Parra, instead implying a connection. "2 Nationals scouts at Diamondbacks game yesterday," Mr. Knobler wrote this afternoon, "Today? 4 Nationals scouts. And yes, Parra is in lineup for D-Backs." Arizona Republic D-Backs beat writer Nick Piecoro (@NickPiecoro), whose sources have dismissed rumors about the Diamondbacks dealing Parra before, wrote on Twitter last week that Arizona GM Kevin Towers told him, "... he's had 'no discussions' about a Gerardo Parra trade. 'I still see him as very much a part of this club,' he said."

CBSSports.com's Mr. Knobler wrote on Twitter last week (3/12) that the, "... Nationals remain interested in Parra of DBacks as a possible answer in CF, but word is that AZ asking a lot for him." The next day the Arizona Republic's Mr. Piecoro, in an article entitled, "Offense sputtering; Haren on Kennedy; Towers talks; Bauer's warm-up; & other stuff", wrote that the D-Backs' GM told reporters that though he hadn't had any direct trade talks about Parra, "'I’ve heard through our scouts that (have talked to other scouts who say), ‘Hey, if you decide to move him, we’d have interest,'" but as for anything more the general manager again said he'd had, "No discussions about him.'"

A "baseball source" told MLB.com's Bill Ladson's (@washingnats) last week that he/she, "... believes the #Nats' center fielder will come in-house to start the season. The #Dbacks have already told that Nats that Gerardo Parra is not available." Washington announced this week that 2010 no.1 overall pick Bryce Harper would play center at Triple-A Syracuse in anticipation of the 19-year-old playing between Michael Morse in left (if and when he's recovered from a lat strain) and Jayson Werth in right when Harper eventually comes up to D.C.

Before Harper's up, the "in-house" solution is expected to be either Roger Bernadina, Rick Ankiel or Brett Carroll (in some combination), until Harper, who's apparently the CFer of the (near)-future, makes it to the majors. With those options, Corey Brown (who had a strong Spring) at Triple-A and the top outfield prospects (Eury Perez, Brian Goodwin, Michael Taylor and others) still thought to be a few years away at Double-A or lower in the Nats' system to start the 2012 campaign, the continued search for an outfielder makes sense, whether it ends up being Parra now or a free agent center fielder some time next winter.

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