The Arizona Diamondbacks are shopping outfielders. That's no secret, as Chris Young and Justin Upton have both been mentioned on the market over the last couple of months. The Diamondbacks might not stop there, though, as Nick Piecoro reports that left fielders Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra are both on the market. Only one of the two will be dealt, though, opening up the position full-time for the remaining outfielder.
Piecoro states that the Diamondbacks are attempting to figure out if Kubel's bat outweighs Parra's defense, but the right offer from one of the other 29 teams could make that decision for them. Where does Boston come in? The Red Sox have a known interest in Parra, one recently visited when Kevin Youkilis was on the block:
The Red Sox are still in need of a left fielder, or at least some outfield depth, especially with the future of Ryan Kalish such an unknown. Parra is young, and he isn't much of a hitter (.280/.332/.400 career line) but he's an exceptional defender, and would come cheap in terms of dollars. There are problems, of course: he's even less of a hitter away from home (.263/.315/.357) and isn't great against left-handers. In a way, he's Ryan Sweeney, again, but with two additional seasons of team control left, and the ability to play in a full complement of games, rather than half of the time. Well, that, and imagine a Ryan Sweeney with an absolute cannon for an arm.
While Youkilis didn't fit the bill for Parra, there might be a current Red Sox position player who does. Mike Aviles might be a shortstop without a position in Boston, but Arizona is in need of a shortstop now that Stephen Drew is elsewhere. Aviles was exceptional defensively in 2012, but struggled a bit with the bat. Heading to an even more hitter-friendly park, in an easier division and league, might be just what Aviles needs. And while he's more expensive than Parra, he's still cheap, and the Diamondbacks could be intrigued by that.
Boston would swap out someone on the 40-man they might not need for someone they could use. Whether the Diamondbacks would require more than Aviles in exchange for Parra is unknown, but it's likely. Luckily, Boston has enough prospect depth to likely interest the Diamondbacks, and it wouldn't take a prospect of any real consequence to pull this off, should Arizona actually like Aviles as their shortstop.
At the least, it's worth exploring. The Sox need outfield help, and the Diamondbacks have it. And, if not Parra, then maybe Boston and Arizona can connect on Chris Young, since the Red Sox have the financial flexibility to take the end of his contract on, and Piecoro believes it's a given that he'll be dealt somewhere this winter.
Should the Red Sox acquire either Parra or Young, and re-sign Cody Ross as expected, that would give them an outfield of Parra/Young, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Ross. Daniel Nava and Kalish would both be around as backup outfielders, or possibly in some kind of time share with the corner players.
Of course, if Boston wants to really shake things up, both Parra and Young could come to town, and Jacoby Ellsbury could be traded elsewhere for a package of prospects. That's a topic for another day, though.