"If it ain't broke, fix the hell out of it."
You know the old saying, I'm sure. GM Walt Jocketty does, and this afternoon he continued on his trend of updating a roster that to most observers was already "complete." Perhaps the memories of the 2010-2011 offseason are still lingering fresh in Walt's mind, or perhaps Bob Castellini has given him so much money that sitting on his wallet is giving him back pain; either way, an already talented bullpen received a slight augmentation, and a catching core that one could only describe as deep, talented, and mustaschioed added an established veteran to its ranks.
Manny Parra, 27, should be familiar to all of us, as he's been a member of the Milwaukee Brewers since being drafted in 2001, and had been a regular on the big league club since 2007 before being non-tendered this offseason. After unsuccessful stints as a starter for most of 2008, 2009, and 2010, and an injury riddled 2011 (elbow), he was used exclusively as a reliever in 2012 for the first time, and wasn't exactly spectacular. His BB/9 of 5.4 doesn't exactly inspire confidence, and neither do his 5.06 ERA or 1.65 WHIP, but he did hold LH hitters to a .635 OPS last year. Perhaps Walt looked at his relative dominance of Joey Votto (.798 OPS in 23 PA) as a reassurance.
Parra was given a one year Major League deal worth $1 million, with the possibility of escalations of an additional $400K. As a result, Todd Redmond was DFA'd to make room on the roster. Thanks for those 3-ish phenomenally mediocre innings, Todd.
Among all MLB players who had at least 300 PA in 2012, Miguel Olivo had the lowest OBP. Of all of them. Every single one. In fact, it wasn't really even close, as his .239 mark was astonishingly short of the 2nd best worst guy on that list, Geovany Soto (.270). Nevertheless, Olivo was inked to a minor league deal and given an invite to Spring Training. It's a depth signing, really, and as long as Devin Mesoraco doesn't egg Walt's house I don't see this as being even as much of the threat to his development as Dioner Navarro was. Miguel can crush LHP, and that's about it. Olivo was signed solely to allow Corky Miller's knees a day off from holding up that amazing facial hair every other day in Louisville.
Think of it this way, folks: Parra fills the LOOGY void left by Bill Bray's birthing hips, and Olivo and his status as 4-time league leader in passed balls will get to mentor Daniel Corcino and Tony Cingrani.
Solid depth moves, Walter. Good on 'ya. In honor of these moves, the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, and all of NOLA's general awesomeness (including my awesome cousins and their even awesomer kids, both of whom have birthdays this weekend), I give you this, which I can't ever get out of my head. And, of course, this, because duh.