D-backs shed salary, gain prospects in dealing Parra, Prado

Gerardo Parra, left, was hitting .259 with six home runs; Martin Prado was hitting .270 with five home runs.

PHOENIX — They rode to the park together. The often followed each other in the batting order. But Martin Prado and Gerardo Parra went their separate ways Thursday after being moved at the major league non-waiver trade deadline.

Prado was sent to the New York Yankees for power hitting catching prospect Peter O’Brien, and Parra went to Milwaukee for outfield prospect Mitch Haniger and left-hander Anthony Banda.

O’Brien and and Haniger were among the top 94 players taken in the 2012 draft, Haniger as a sandwich pick after the first round, and O’Brien in the second round. O’Brien, who also has played first base and the outfield, has 33 homers at two minor league stops this season, trailing only top hitting prospects Joey Gallo (37) of Texas and Kris Bryant (34) of the Chicago Cubs. Scouting reports suggests it is unclear whether his long-term future is at catcher.

The D-backs have two third base prospects in Double-A Mobile’s Jake Lamb and high-A Visalia’s Brandon Drury, and some in the organization believe Lamb is not that far away. It is not clear who will play third base in Prado’s absence, although it would not be farfetched to suggest that the D-backs could promote Lamb at some point before season’s end to give him some major league experience. He is hitting .318 with 35 doubles, 14 homers and 79 RBI at Mobile, leading the league in RBI and doubles and second in OPS.

Newest Diamondbacks prospects Mitch Haniger (left) and Peter O’Brien

The rapid ascension of newcomer David Peralta created a logjam in the outfield that made two-time Gold Glove winner Parra  expendable. Haniger, 23, was rated the No. 3 prospect in the Brewers’ system by Baseball America entering the season and is playing at Double-A Huntsville. Haniger hit .280 with an .834 OPS, four home runs and 24 RBIs in 25 games for Surprise of the prospect-heavy Arizona Fall League last year.

Parra is hitting .259 with six home runs and 30 RBI this season , a big drop-off from a year ago. He is hitting .212 against left-handed pitchers and .165 with runners in scoring position this season, and some scouts believed he has lost a step in the outfield after winning Gold Gloves in left field in 2011 and right field in 2013, his first season there after replacing Justin Upton. Parra, 27, also is about to get expensive — he could earn between $6 million to $7 million in his final year of arbitration in 2015 before hitting free agency the following year.

Prado, 30, was the major piece the D-backs received in the seven-player Upton trade with Atlanta before last season. The D-backs will save about $26 million by dealing Prado, who is owed $11 million in 2015 and 2016 and about $3.7 million for the rest of this season. He is hitting .270 with five homers and 42 RBI.

The offensive numbers for both Parra and Prado are down across the board.

Slumping at the plate

  2013 2014
Batting average .268 .259
On-base percentage .323 .305
Slugging percentage .403 .362
Extra-base hits 57 (156 games) 27 (104 games)
Batting average .282 .270
On-base percentage .333 .317
Slugging percentage .417 .370
Extra-base hits 52 (155 games) 26 (106 games)

Peralta is hitting  .313 with three homers and 19 RBI in 47 games since being promoted from Double-A Mobile on June 1, and he started in right field three times on their recent road trip. Ender Inciarte also can play right field, and with center fielder A.J. Pollock expected back in the two weeks or so, the D-backs will have a full complement of outfielders to go with left fielder Mark Trumbo.

Haniger, 23, missed most of the 2012 season after suffering a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament on a collision at the plate July 5 at low-A Wisconsin, an injury that occurred about three weeks after he signed for a $1.2 million bonus. He slashed .264/.348/.431 with 36 doubles, 11 home runs and 68 RBIs in two Class A stops in 2013 and is .255/.316/.416 with 10 homers and 34 RBI at Hunstville.

Haniger did not need surgery to repair his knee injury.

"I was just blessed that I didn’t need surgery and I could come back within two or three months," Haniger said during the Fall League last season. "I just looked at the positive things instead of reflect on the negative side, and  was happy that it wasn’t too serious. Technically, if your knee is strong enough, you don’t need your PCL, so my right knee doesn’t have a PCL."

Banda, 20, is 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA in 20 games at Wisconsin this season. He was the D-backs’ 33rd pick in 2011 but chose to attend San Jacinto junior college before being taken in the 10th round in 2012. He is 11-13 with a 4.40 ERA in three minor league seasons, with 171 strikeouts in 186 innings.

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