Since Colorado Rockies first basemen Mark Reynolds went down with an injury earlier in the month, the Rox have had to scramble to find a new guy to man the spot.
Gerardo Parra, an everyday caliber outfielder, has recently made the transition down to first, holding down the fort effectively as the Rox try to hold it together to finish the season.
“He looks comfortable to me,” Weiss told Nick Kosmider of The Denver Post. “You watch for things. The awareness, the body language. He just looks comfortable over there. That’s kind of who he is. He loves playing. He’s been able to take that over there to first base. He hasn’t changed the way he approaches the game, which is a good thing. It helps him keep things simple over there and not get overwhelmed.”
The Rockies may need to begin the search for a long-term solution at first base since Mark Reynolds is set to hit the open market come season’s end and is slated to get a nice contract following a solid season in which he is hitting .283.
If Reynolds walks, the team will have a void to fill, but sliding Parra into the slot could kill two birds with one stone.
When he returned from injury, Parra created for a logjam in the outfield with Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez and David Dahl all slotted to play daily, forcing the hand of Walt Weiss to pick and choose who to play on a game-in, game-out basis.
Now, if Parra switches to first base, Weiss can play all four at the same time, something that could be a big boost for the team offensively.
Between the four players, their combined batting average is .300, sitting much higher than the league average of .265-.275, meaning nearly half of the Rockies lineup would statistically consist of above average production.
Parra has started three games at first base this season, drawing three walks in the span, giving Weiss optimism about Parra’s future at the position.
“It’s usually a good sign when guys are working counts and having deeper at-bats, drawing walks,” Weiss said. “It usually tells you that the pitch recognition is getting better. So hopefully it’s a good sign for Parra.”
The Rox need a long-term solution at first base, and Parra should be their guy. He’s under contract through the 2019 season, allowing the Rox to keep finances straight to help bolster positions that need more help — wink, wink … pitching.
Parra’s ability to play solid defense, provide a spark on offense and allow all four outfielders to slide into the lineup are some of the reasons the team should stick with the 29-year-old at first.