Thursday, February 27, 2014

Oakland dumps Parrino, upgrades with Elmore

To complement Sogard, the A's have acquired fellow Arizona State alumni and 2B, Jake Elmore, in a swap that disposes of Andy Parrino off the 40 man roster and bolsters the Athletics middle infield depth stashed away in Sacramento. Elmore, a 26 year old veteran and senior signee during the 2008 Draft proceeding, the versatile asset rapidly ascended through Arizona's farm ladder and rocketed through affiliates after bypassing Visalia entirety prior to his 2012 MLB debut. Elmore's sensational campaign with Reno that season, going .344/.442/.465 through 511 PAs with a 143 wRC+, .386 BABIP, and 14.5% BB% to establish himself as one of the PCL's best infielders, wasn't enough to spare him as he was relinquished and consequently snagged by Houston, who served as Elmore's organization during the previous 2013 season. After a mediocre, yet improved, attempt with the major league squad, Elmore spent the hefty majority of his appearances in Oklahoma City featuring once more as a utility AAA injury replacement infield piece. Following his renewed stint with Chicago this offseason after Houston severed ties with the diminutive 5'9", 185 pounder, Elmore expected to enter their facility in the Cactus League and compete once more prior to another likely now International League assignment. Now however, the A's have sought out Elmore's services as the dealt cash considerations to Chicago to acquire him and replace Andy Parrino's post with his presence, now serving as the only MI replacement currently upon the 40 man roster. 

Elmore has revived significant praise for his exceptional plate discipline, featuring as some of the most elite through the PCL over the previous two campaigns, wielding a 105:91 BB/K between Nevada and Oklahoma. Additionally, Elmore is a tremendous contact heavy bat, with a spray approach and plus speed upon the basepaths, boosting his value with a PCL résumé of 48-14 in stolen base opportunities since 2012 (110-53 lifetime in MiLB). While stifled when pitted against MLB arsenals thus far, Elmore has accumulated a traditionally inflated BABIP thanks to his noticeable lack of power, baserunning, a line drive approach that have frustrated minor league arms and coaching staffs alike, making him one of the most feared leadoff men throughout the Pacific Coast League. The Athletics though seemed more intrigued by Elmore's outstanding versatility, playing all nine positions between Houston and OKC during the 2013 calendar year. All nine of them... Elmore primarily dabbled in the infield, with 27 cumulative contests between SS/2B with Houston and 54 at 2B while housed within their AAA affiliate, but Elmore also participated in LF, RF, CF, 1B, 3B, C, and pitched for his fourth career campaign (2011, 2010, 2009) while servicing in pinch running and hitting capacities. Elmore is also the 13th player in MLB history to pitch and catch in the same contest, joining Bert Campaneris in that exclusive club and featuring as the only non-catcher in the *history* of major league baseball to only catch and pitch without playing any other positions in a lone game. It's a tantalizing package for Oakland, who has been unabashed by their fondness towards those who can man several positions. To bolster his production even further, the right handed Elmore has incredibly favorable LHP splits, and shall likely be utilized in a platoon post should he arrive in Oakland during the 2014 season, hitting .297/.367/.432 between 167 amassed PAs in 2013 with a 17:17 BB/K versus southpaws. He shall likely be called upon should Punto or Callaspo succumb to injury and have a possible platoon constructed between he and Sogard, despite a lackluster MLB résumé of a .223/.290/.298 slash, 63 wRC+, and -0.8 fWAR through 209 plate appearances. However, he's fared somewhat sufficiently versus MLB lefties in a minimal 75 PAs, with a .250/.320/.309 line, a 9.3% BB% (7 BB), and a remarkable four strikeouts; production that suggests a greater sample size is required. 

Sacrificed is Andy Parrino, the long expected DFA casualty who now shall meander about waivers, but is unlikely to be scooped up by any interested suitor. Now signifying there are zero remaining 40 man roster members from the Tyson Ross swap following Andrew Werner's demotion to permit Scott Kazmir onto the roster earlier this offseason, Parrino is likely to never don an Athletics uniform again with less than noticeable offensive production and a ballooning strikeout rate. I wrote about the switch hitting outcast prior to his exile in January:

"Recently married this previous month, Parrino has definitely had an enjoyable offseason aside from any baseball particulars. But the former Padre has seen his fellow accompanied trade companion in Andrew Werner be ushered off the 40 man roster for Kazmir's entry and has additionally seen Pedro Figueroa be discarded for Gimenez to waltz onto the roster as well during this past December, narrowly avoiding a DFA himself as the fringe utility piece is precariously tightroping the 40 man roster and a ticket to the waiver wire for the time being, hoping to demonstrate his worth in February and through March to remain an Athletic for 2014. The addition for Nick Punto doesn't help the cause of the switch hitting New York native, but Parrino could still salvage an Oakland career with a dominant spring and would definitely benefit if either Sogard or Callaspo succumbed to injury prior to April. Regardless of how, this is likely Parrino's final campaign to showcase his worth for the A's before either a DFA or release following a uncharacteristicly forgettable 2013.

Originally welcomed into professional baseball via a 26th round selection in 2007, Parrino gradually outlasted his competition in Eugene, Fort Wayne, and Lake Elsinore and steadily climbed towards a 2010 attempt with San Antonio where he garnered Texas League midseason All-Star honors en route to a 2011 where he burst through to Tucson with a .303/.388/.539 slash in just north of 175 PAs and proceeded to assimilate to his AAA surroundings seamlessly with a .327/.399/.484 encore. Essentially, there were zero roadblocks for Parrino, who debuted for San Diego during the September of that 2011 but was finally was wrangled in with mediocre showing in ~50 PAs before his 2012 approached. As he settled in to the first offseason where he had legitimate major league expectations, Parrino would wind up splitting duties between San Diego and Tucson prior to his arrival in the A's organization with Werner for Tyson Ross and AJ Kirby-Jones in the offseason, and once again thrived in AAA while being stifled by major league repertoires:

Tucson (2012): 265 PAs, .328/.400/.484, 127 wRC+, .136 ISO, .385 wOBA, .409 BABIP

San Diego (2012): 138 PAs, .207/.316/.273, 51 wRC+, .069 ISO, .253 wOBA, .284 BABIP

With another opportunity presented with another ballclub, things seemed optimistic for Parrino as he initially began in Sacramento before sporadic attempts in Oakland throughout 2013. Unfortunately however, for the first time as a professional AP struggled vehemently during a minor league campaign, going .212/.300/.302 with a 62 wRC+ in his 420 plate appearances with the River kittens. The result was incredibly disappointing for Parrino, who now has less standing with his MLB difficultly spreading to his PCL performance and a career major league résumé of .186/.295/.242 with a 51 wRC+, .238 wOBA, .057 ISO and a -0.2 fWAR alongside an inept 27.9% K%.

In short, Parrino needs a successful stretch fast if he wishes to participate in the majors come 2014. If he can navigate past the remainder of the offseason and still be under the A's watch, the spring's importance for Parrino is one of the largest of any 40 man resident for Oakland."

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