The San Francisco Giants are finally being aggressive this offseason. It only took them 4 months.
Neither player is named Bryce Harper. I have confirmed this much. However, their additions do not preclude the Giants from being able to sign Harper in any way.
Parra will likely make the opening day roster, whereas Gentry may have been added as a depth piece. So, it is unlikely the Giants see their roster as a finished product with these additions. There is still a Bryce Harper-sized hole to fill.
I had to double-check Parra’s baseball reference page to confirm he has not played for the Giants previously. It seems he was destined to don the orange and black at some point in his career.
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Parra posted a .284/.342/.372 slash line last season. This sounds great, but in the context of playing half of his games at Coors Field, he still grades out as a below-average hitter.
However, Parra has been oddly good at Oracle Park. He has posted a .310 average and .749 OPS in 217 plate appearances. The San Francisco Giants would be ecstatic if he could replicate that production.
Parra does not typically offer much power. However, he has a career .325 on-base percentage and 17% strikeout rate. Both of these figures would represent incremental improvements compared to the 2018 Giants team. That seems to be the theme of this offseason.
On the defensive side of the ball, Parra is not the premium glove he used to be. He is a 2-time Gold Glove winner, but that was a long time ago.
The Rockies rarely used Parra in center field, but he still grades out as a plus corner outfielder. Coors Field has a lot of outfield territory to cover, so he should be able to transition to Oracle Park with relative ease.
In recent years, Parra has even added some experience at first base. I would not count on him playing many innings at first base, but Bruce Bochy was forced to consider playing Madison Bumgarner at first base late last season. So, nothing is off the table.
In addition to Parra, Gentry has been added to the outfield mix. Unlike Parra, Gentry does not have extensive experience as a starter. Though, he has appeared in the majors each year since 2009.
Gentry is known more for his glove. He has experience at all 3 outfield positions. Despite being 35-years-old, Gentry still grades out as a plus defender at each of these positions.
With the bat, Gentry will not play the role of a power hitter. He has posted a .262/.333/..339 slash line throughout his career. In addition to this, he has posted a 7.3% walk rate and 17.8% strikeout rate.
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Similar to Parra, the on-base percentage and strikeout rate would represent improvements when compared to the 2018 Giants team. That bar is set so low.
Gentry does quietly excel in one area besides defense. He is an excellent base stealer. While speed is important, base stealing is a skill that requires more than speed.
Throughout his career, Gentry has stolen 94 bases in 114 attempts. That is an 82% success rate. That rate is better than Rickey Henderson, and only a few percentage points below Tim Raines. His success rate is historically elite, albeit in a much smaller sample.
The additions of Parra and Gentry do not necessarily excite. However, each one has a defined skill set that could be seen as improvements when compared to the 2018 Giants team.
Given his experience as a starter, Parra may have a much easier path to make the opening day roster. The San Francisco Giants will need to keep both Drew Ferguson and Mac Williamson on the 25-man roster if they do not want to risk losing either one. This could be a difficult obstacle for Gentry to overcome, though.
At least the Giants are finally making moves, right? The San Francisco Giants can and will likely add at least one more outfielder to the mix. This team is still not a finished product. The player they add may or may not be Bryce Harper. Only time will tell.