The Brewers like Parra's defense at all three outfield positions and his left-handed bat, so they parted with a pair of Minor League prospects to pry him from the D-backs on Thursday, about two hours before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he also "pushed pretty hard" to acquire a right-handed reliever but was unable to find a match before the 3 p.m. CT Deadline passed. Melvin had either expressed interest or exchanged concrete proposals recently with the Rangers on Joakim Soria, the Padres on Joaquin Benoit, the Rockies on LaTroy Hawkins and the Red Sox on Koji Uehara. He also explored with D-backs GM Kevin Towers the potential of expanding their trade to include Brad Ziegler or Addison Reed. In each instance, the sides could not agree on fair value for a return. Of that group, only Soria was traded.
"We tried on the relievers," Melvin said. "There were a couple of opportunities, maybe, a couple guys we got involved in as rentals, and we were prepared to pay a certain price for them. When it started getting more involved, we just thought it was a little too much.
"I thought we were close on a couple. We made very fair offers, but people see players differently."
Melvin never came close to a trade for a top starting pitcher. The Brewers preferred to continue building around some of their top homegrown talent, including 24-year-old second baseman Scooter Gennett, 25-year-old starting pitchers Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta, and 26-year-old left fielder Khris Davis.
"We had players that teams liked -- players, obviously, like Jimmy Nelson and guys like that," Melvin said. "We weren't prepared to do that."
Headed to Arizona in the Parra trade was Double-A Huntsville outfielder Mitch Haniger, who was ranked No. 8 on MLB.com's list of the top Brewers prospects before the deal, plus 20-year-old left-hander Anthony Banda, who was drafted by the D-backs in 2011 but did not sign. The Brewers took Banda in the 10th round of the Draft the following season.
Parra was scheduled to travel to St. Louis on Friday in time for the Brewers' series opener at Busch Stadium. Assuming he arrives in time, the Brewers will option outfielder Logan Schafer to Triple-A Nashville to create roster room.
Parra, who is batting .259 with six home runs and 30 RBIs in 104 games this season, has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining after this season. The 27-year-old has started mostly in right field this year, but Ryan Braun is a fixture there for the Brewers, Carlos Gomez is entrenched in center field and Davis is playing his first full Major League season in left. Ideally, Parra will spell each of those starters while providing insurance against injuries for Gomez, who has battled a back issue of late, and Braun, who has managed thumb, back and rib cage ailments at various times this year.
"[Parra] gives us experience and a left-handed bat when guys need a day off here and there," Melvin said. "He brings you both defense and a little bit of a bat. I think we'll use him in certain matchups against certain right-handed pitchers at all three places."
Parra has won National League Gold Glove Awards in both left field (2011) and right ('13). His 62 outfield assists since 2009 are tied for second in the Major Leagues, trailing only the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista's 63.
Parra will be greeted by a couple of familiar faces on Friday. He is friends with Brewers closer and fellow Venezuelan Francisco Rodriguez, and was teammates with Mark Reynolds in Arizona in 2009-10.
"It's a new part of my life, and I say thank you to the Milwaukee Brewers for giving me this new opportunity to try to make the playoffs and play on a team in first place," Parra said. "I heard something [about a potential trade]. I know baseball. But you don't think anything until it happens."
Parra is earning $4.85 million this season and would see that salary rise for 2015 if the Brewers go through arbitration with him.
"We didn't really worry about next year as much as we're trying to get to the postseason now," Melvin said.
With that in mind, Melvin will continue to work the market. Players can still be traded after July 31 if they clear waivers, and traded players are eligible for postseason play if they are on a team's roster by Aug. 31.
"We still have some pieces we would consider in trades," Melvin said. "It doesn't mean you can't do something later on."