Despite the MLB winter meetings being just days away, the Washington Nationals have already hit the ground running.
According to Chris Cotillo, the Nationals have acquired San Diego Padres catcher Derek Norris.
RHP Pedro Avila heads to San Diego for Norris.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 2, 2016
In return, the Nationals will send minor league righty Pedro Avila to San Diego.
This move gives the Nationals their replacement for Wilson Ramos. Ramos tore his ACL in late September, and his availability for this upcoming year remains unclear. As a result, the Nationals went into the off-season in search of a new backstop; Norris will be that guy.
In years past, Derek Norris has been a power hitting catcher who has also been a presence behind the plate; Norris was even an All-Star in 2014; however, last year his offensive production plummeted.
While Norris has never hit for average, he still hit over .245 from 2013 to 2015, but last year his average took a huge drop.
Despite hitting 14 home runs and driving in 42 runs, Norris ended the year hitting just .198. His recent drop in offensive consistency is a major red flag for the Nationals; however, despite his incredibly low average, Norris may have been the right move for the Nationals to make.
The free agent market began with three more than serviceable backstops: Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro (who signed with the Minnesota Twins), Washington’s own Wilson Ramos, and the Baltimore Orioles Matt Wieters. While Wieters didn’t hit for that low of an average, he would’ve been a huge gamble for the Nationals.
Throughout his career, Wieters has struggled to remain on the field, due to injuries, and that is one thing that has decimated the Nationals in year’s past; Wieters may have been one too many risks for Washington to make.
The acquisition of Derek Norris was a good move for the Nationals. While he is coming off a bad year, Norris doesn’t have as many question marks surrounding him as free agent catchers Wieters and Ramos do. Norris was also a good pickup considering how little they gave up to acquire him.