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Derek Norris’s Destination Options
- Updated: March 15, 2017
The Washington Nationals Release Derek Norris
Early Wednesday, the Washington Nationals announced they released veteran catcher Derek Norris.
Last season, with the San Diego Padres, Norris had his worst season to date. Hitting an atrocious .186 batting average along with an even worse on base percentage of .255. The only silver lining in that forgettable season came from his power. Norris matched his career high of 14 home runs. That career high came in 2015.
Another silver lining could be considered his defense. In 983 innings of catching, Norris only gave up eight passed balls. He also recorded a higher Range Factor per 9 innings than the league average.
With a few teams in need of a backstop backup, some front office eyes will intensely analyze Norris to determine whether or not to bring him on.
Despite his sub-par offensive skills, no question his defense will be the 28-year-old’s hook.
Tampa Bay Rays
Despite being deadlocked into an unwanted rebuilding mindset, the Rays have been rumored to pursue Norris if released. Here he is, a free agent, and look for the Rays to deeply consider signing him.
With veteran Wilson Ramos expected to get the starting nod, a signing would mean a bench role for Norris, but even that isn’t a given. Prospects Luke Maile and Curt Casali remain on the roster this late into spring. Signing Norris will mean one to be designated for assignment, but doesn’t mean both will.
Signing Norris does add that power option on the bench the Rays lack, and would be a nice defensive addition. Norris could possibly even serve as a veteran/leader-type role for the prospects named above.
The only aspect that could hold the Rays back from pulling the trigger would have to be his offense, obviously. His defensive skill does not outweigh his offensive skill, or lack thereof.
Chicago White Sox
Since fan-favorite A.J. Pierzyński and the White Sox parted ways, there’s always been a hole too large to fill in the backstop on the South Side. Could Norris be the man to fill those large cleats? No. Not even close. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a role in Chicago.
Similarly to Tampa Bay, Norris could serve as a veteran/leader as young catchers flood the White Sox organization. With the likings of presumed Opening Day starter Omar Narvarez, along with presumed benched backstop Alfredo Gonzalez and top prospect Zack Collins all under 25. Also in the organization are addition with Kevan Smith, 28, and Geovany Soto, 34.
With the salary cap for Norris, it doesn’t make much sense not to at least look at Norris.
San Diego Padres
Less likely than Tampa, and even less likely than Chicago, but still possible, Norris could very well end up back in the Padres organization. Seeing that the front office is already familiar with Norris, and he with them, it sort of does make sense if you look at it.
Yes his time in San Diego was not great, or even decent, but he did have an All-Star year in 2014 with the Oakland Athletics, so it’s not like he’s a lost cause.
With a young team, again, Norris would be expected to play the same role as the two other teams’ scenarios.
But at that, signing Norris doesn’t guarantee a roster spot for him. He’ll have to leg it out against the many youngsters the Padres have in their organization.
Though Tampa seems like the likely spot for Derek Norris, he could very well receive an offer the White Sox or even from the Padres.