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Peter Schmuck: Orioles address key need with Parra trade

Sun sports columnist Peter Schmuck weighs in on the Orioles' trade with the Brewers for outfielder Gerardo Parra. (Baltimore Sun)

The deadline acquisition of outfielder Gerardo Parra from the Milwaukee Brewers probably isn't going to impress anyone still in awe of the two huge deals pulled off by the Toronto Blue Jays this week, but it is a solid deal that addresses a key need for the Orioles.

They've been parading outfielders through left field all season and no one has really grabbed the opportunity to play regularly. Travis Snider has gotten most of the playing time by default because he was acquired for that purpose during the club's unheralded offseason, but he really hasn't given the club enough production to justify full-time playing time at a power position.

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Parra is having his best season, batting .328 with an on-base percentage that rivals anyone on the Orioles current roster. He isn't a big name, but if he's a steady player who gets on base and can deliver key hits with runners in scoring position, Duquette should get credit for doing what he could with the players he had available to trade.

The O's might have gotten more if they had been willing to trade top pitching prospect Kevin Gausman, the apple of everyone's eye who were  lighting up Duquette's cellphone, but the club was right not to give up that much value when it's best chance to reach the postseason may be for the one-game wild card playoff.

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It was a different situation a year ago, when the O's traded highly regarded pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez was dealt to the Boston Red Sox for super-setup man Andrew Miller. The club wasn't looking way up at a hot Yankees team and had more offensive punch with Nelson Cruz in the middle of the lineup.

This year, the Orioles offense has been spotty and that inconsistency glared during a July slump that took them from first place to as far as seven games out of the division lead. They can still get up if they can establish a steady attack, and Parra appears to be a player who will add some connectivity to a lineup that depends too much on the home run ball.

Parra's name has been floating around for the past few days, so the deal is not a tremendous surprise. No doubt, a lot of fans would rather have somebody with a bigger name, but the Orioles minor league system is short on position depth and has several of its top pitching prospects —  most notably Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey — on the shelf with injuries.

They certainly were far from the position the Blue Jays were in when they sent three solid left-handed pitching prospects to the Tigers for David Price … and that was after making the surprising trade for power-hitting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

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Zach Davies, who got some face time with the major league club in spring training, got positive reviews from manager Buck Showalter, but he was a player with some value who the Orioles felt they could afford to give up.

Though it certainly remains to be seen whether the Orioles will be able to keep pace with the Blue Jays now, the Parra deal is a solid, medium trade that should have a positive impact down the stretch.

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