The Tampa Bay Rays will have a new catcher behind the plate, and it’s Derek Norris.
There was plenty of talk as to where Derek Norris may land. The Tampa Bay Rays were among those mentioned due to their current situation at catcher. Norris will now head to Tampa Bay to play catcher for the Rays until free agent acquisition Wilson Ramos, who signed a two-year deal in the offseason, returns from the DL. With the acquisition of Norris, the Rays will now have to make a decision between Curt Casali, Luke Maile and Jesus Sucre, who have all split time behind the plate for the Rays in spring training.
Norris, who has struggled in recent years with the San Diego Padres, was acquired by the Washington Nationals back in December for minor league pitcher Pedro Avila. Norris became expendable to the Nats after the free agent signing of Matt Wieters. Due to Norris’ contract, the Nationals were unable to find a suitor and placed him on waivers.
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Norris will bring a woeful .186/.255/.328 slash from 2016 to the Rays, where he will hope to bounce back to his 2014 numbers – .270/.361/.403 – with the Oakland Athletics that landed him his first and only All-Star appearance. The reported deal will be for one year with no option and is pending a physical. The deal will be for $1.2 million with another $800K in incentives, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
While Norris has not played the best baseball for the past two years, he will be filling a gap that has been a sore spot for the Rays for quite a few years now. Tampa Bay has had a revolving door of catchers and may have finally found a solid duo if Norris can revert back to 2014 and Ramos successfully comes back from his ACL injury.
Second Chance for Derek Norris
This will act as another opportunity for Norris to revitalize his career. After becoming part of the Padres organization, Norris saw a dramatic drop in his offensive output. This opportunity may be just what he needs to turn his career around and become the promising player that he has previously shown the potential to be.
Playing at the hitter-friendly Tropicana Field should help those numbers as well. The right-handed Norris was only able to hit 28 long balls in his time in San Diego. With the short left field fence, those power numbers may go up and provide Norris the potential to pad his stats a little.
Regardless of how the year goes for Norris, this may be a short term ordeal for him in Tampa that is used as a launching pad for a better contract for next off season.