December 8, 1987: Four years and one day after making him the Reds first big free agent acquisition, the Reds trade outfielder Dave Parker to the Oakland A’s for starting pitcher and future Reds ace Jose Rijo and reliever Tim Birtsas.
Parker’s best Reds season had come in 1985 when he finished second in MVP balloting after hitting .312 with 34 home runs and 125 rbi, 42 doubles, a .551 SLP, and a .916 OPS (149 OPS+). He led the league in rbi, doubles, total bases, and intentional walks. He finished fifth in MVP voting in 1986 when he hit .273 with 31 home runs and 116 rbi, again leading the league in total bases, but his OPS+ slipped to 117 (OPS was .807). He slipped a little more in 1987 when he hit .253 with 26 homers, 97 rbi, and a .744 OPS (92 OPS+) and his defensive performance had also been declining now that he was 36 years old.
Parker still had a few more productive years remaining and finished 11th in MVP voting in the American League while with the Oakland A’s in 1989 (.264/22/97 with .741 OPS) and 16th in MVP votes with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1990 (.289/21/92 with .781 OPS). His final season came in 1991.
The Reds had young outfielders in place ready to replace Parker, namely Kal Daniels, Eric Davis, Paul O’Neill, and Tracy Jones. All the outfield prospects were at least a decade younger than Parker and all were talented players.
For Parker, the Reds received their next ace pitcher in Jose Rijo. Rijo had reached the majors at age 19 with the New York Yankees in 1984, but had struggled in his first four major league seasons, going 19-30 with a 4.75 ERA (83 ERA+) with the Yankees and Oakland A’s before joining the Reds.
Continue reading This Day in Reds History: Reds Deal Dave Parker, Randy Myers, and Sean Casey