Before the start of the Washington Nationals’ four-game series in LA, second-year manager Davey Martinez talked to reporters about the newest addition to the roster, 32-year-old, 11-year veteran Gerardo Parra, who joined the team in Los Angeles on a one-year deal just days after he was designated for assignment and granted free agency by the San Francisco Giants.
Parra signed a 1-year/$1.75M minor league deal with the Giants this winter, but was DFA’d by Bruce Bochy’s club after putting up a .198/.278/.267 line with three doubles and a home run in 30 games and 97 PAs.
“[I’ve played] a lot of baseball, that’s the first year I started like that,” Parra told reporters on Thursday, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr, after he joined the team in time for the first of a four-game set in Dodger Stadium.
“But that’s over for me. This is a new opportunity. Regardless, I’m happy.”
“He’s a veteran outfielder that can play all three outfield positions,” Martinez said of the new addition.
“[He] also plays a little bit of first base, but he gives us another left-handed bat. He’ll play against some right-handed pitching, but he’s a great guy to have. He’s a great clubhouse guy, I’ve known him for a long time, so he just gives us another veteran presence.”
Parra was signed out of Venezuela as an amateur free agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004, when current Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was the D-backs’ scouting director, and in his big league career, he has played for the D-backs, Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, and Giants.
“I’m happy to be here,” Parra said of joining his sixth major league team, a struggling 14-22 squad that started the series in Los Angeles in the midst of a four-game losing streak, with eight losses in their last 10 games (though they did go on to win the series opener).
“I feel 100%,” Parra added, “and I come here to just try to help the team win, try to make the playoffs, but I think the big point right now is try to relax, relax because we know ... it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish the season. We’ve got a great team. We’ve got a good opportunity. I know this division is strong, but that’s baseball, you play hard, play happy and see what happens.”
“I had a good talk with him,” Martinez said, when asked about the role Parra will fill on the roster.
“He hits righties really, really well. We’re going to get him in against some right-handed pitching. He’s also another backup first baseman for us if we need him.
“But I like his style, I like the way he plays. He plays real hard. He knows how to play the game.”