Gerardo Parra is headed to Colorado. The free-agent outfielder and the Rockies agreed to a three-year deal Tuesday that will pay at least $27.5 million.  

Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post and Spanish reporter Wilmer Reina provided the news. The deal will have a fourth-year option at $12 million.

Parra, 28, hit .291/.328/.452 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI last season, adding 14 steals on 18 attempts. He split the season between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Baltimore Orioles, coming over to the American League for the first time via a midseason trade.

Brilliant throughout the first half in Milwaukee, Parra struggled mightily during his 55-game stint with the Orioles. He hit .237/.268/.357, played miserable defense and failed to help the Orioles make a postseason push. FanGraphs credited him with just 0.4 wins above replacement in 2015, a number that would categorize this contract as a massive overpay.

Parra hasn’t been the same since his brilliant 2013 campaign, when he produced a career-high 4.5 WAR and seemed to find a comfort level defensively. Split seasons each of the last two years have hurt his performance, as he’s seen a drop-off in play after each deadline deal.

The Rockies were one of three finalists in the Parra chase, according to agent Jose Mijares, who spoke with Saunders on Monday. The other two teams were not named, but Mijares’ openness in discussing Colorado made it look like the favorite.

It’s unclear at this time what the trade means for Colorado’s incumbent outfielders, but Saunders noted there has been speculation about the Rockies making a trade in the search for starting pitching.

“I don’t know anything about a trade by the Rockies, I’m just trying to find the best fit for Gerardo,” Mijares said. “We will see what is the best offer and the best situation.”

Parra’s arrival should make those trade possibilities easier. His offensive emergence in Milwaukee last season should bode well for his transition to hitter-friendly Coors Field, and Parra’s massive defensive descent feels more like an outlier than anything.

While he’s been graded negatively each of the last two seasons, his level of drop-off between 2014 and 2015 was so big that a positive regression should be in order.


Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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