Jarrod Parker had quite an ending to his third Minor League season, leading Double-A Mobile to a Southern League championship and then getting called up for his Major League debut as the D-backs clinched the National League West.
But as quickly as his dream season played out, Parker now finds himself preparing for a slightly new life. The D-backs, loaded with pitching talent in the Minors, dealt their 2007 first-round pick -- arguably their top prospect -- to Oakland on Dec. 9 in a deal that brought Trevor Cahill to Arizona.
Parker, who rebounded from Tommy John surgery in 2010 and made his Major League debut last September, took a few minutes to talk about his new team and budding career:
MiLB.com: What was it like coming back from Tommy John surgery?
Jarrod Parker: There was a lot of ups and downs, I had to shake out some jitters and just kinda re-learn how to pitch a little bit, stuff like throwing off a mound after not pitching for whole season and a half.
MiLB.com: You played for Mobile last season, one of the best Double-A teams in the Minors, with guys like Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer. What was it like being a part of that group?
Parker: It was good -- we had A.J. Pollock, we had tons of talent, it was a good team. Everybody pushed each other -- we wanted to get the best out for each other. Everyone on that pitching staff wanted to one-up each other, so it was good. We had tons of bats and defense, and winning that championship kinda proved it.
MiLB.com: You're in a new organization now, joining the A's. What's it been like to move to a new team?
Parker: It was weird at first, I had some mixed emotions, but now that it's been a few days, I'm excited. I got to speak with some front-office people, the manager, so I'm excited for a new opportunity. To be with a team that wanted me that bad to make a trade is nice.
MiLB.com: Can you make the team out of Spring Training? Have they indicated that possibility to you?
Parker: Yeah, we haven't talked about it, but I feel like I'm going to compete for a job and earn a spot. I'm getting after it, going in strong. You put in time in the offseason to get ready for that.
MiLB.com: What do you think of being traded for Trevor Cahilll?
Parker: He's a pretty successful big leaguer at 23 -- it shows the A's wanted me. And Arizona got a good deal as well. Both teams are happy, so you know it was a good trade.
MiLB.com: Arizona acquired Craig Breslow and Cahill in exchange for you, Collin Cowgill and Ryan Cook. What do you think Cowgill can bring to the A's?
Parker: He's a gamer -- he can hit the ball out of the park, run it down, a great athlete who knows how to play the game the right way. He's not afraid to get dirty and make plays.
MiLB.com: You're from Fort Wayne, Ind. -- did go to any Minor League games as a kid?
Parker: Growing up I remember going to see the Fort Wayne Wizards -- I went to a couple of those games.
MiLB.com: What's been your favorite Minor League town to visit?
Parker: Tough one, they're all running together, I don't know. We had a good time in Jacksonville. It was a good spot, a great park. They did a nice job with the stadium and getting people in the seats. And it's right on the bay -- it's nice.
MiLB.com: You made your Major League debut in September (throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings for Arizona). What was that like?
Parker: It was a pretty crazy week. We ended up winning the Southern league championship, and then I found out that night I was going up. I ended up being up there when the team clinched the division, so it was a pretty crazy two weeks. I was excited, a little nervous, but I was really pumped to get that under my belt.
MiLB.com: You might see some time in the Pacific Coast League next summer. Are you ready for all the travel involved?
Parker: I don't really know a lot about the league, just what guys have said. Hopefully I don't have to experience it, I guess!
MiLB.com: Had you planned to go to college if you weren't drafted so high?
Parker: Yeah, I was committed to Georgia Teach, I signed a letter of intent to go there.
MiLB.com: We noticed you're driving a supercharged 2009 Jaguar. Was that the first car you bought after signing a contract?
Parker: It's actually in Arizona right now, so I'm not driving it now -- it's terrible in the snow, so it's useless in Indiana. It was my second car. I have a truck here I drive, so that's kind of my toy.
MiLB.com: Any routines or specific meals or music you have to listen to before a start?
Parker: I don't always eat breakfast, but sometimes I'll have a turkey sandwich for lunch and just relax in the clubhouse. I'm not too big with routines -- that went out the window with the surgery and rehab process. I just relax and try to be as relaxed as I can, because once you step between the lines, you try to be as focused and intense as you can. You don't want to be wrecking your focus in the clubhouse with loud music and whatever.
MiLB.com: You auctioned off some game-worn cleats in August for charity. What was the charity and what made you want to do that?
Parker: I'm actually doing it for a team in Ohio, the Dayton Classics. I'm doing another pair now, taking all the proceeds and writing them a check. It helps them for tournaments and stuff. It's a high school travel team, a new organization, so I figured I'd help them out a little bit.
Check out Jarrod's cleats and find out how to bid.