The San Diego Padres have been quite aggressive sellers ahead of the trade deadline, and another player they’ve been trying to move is Derek Norris, with the Milwaukee Brewers among the teams showing interest in him.
The Brewers need a catcher, as Jonathan Lucroy is on the verge of being traded to the Cleveland Indians, unless he refuses to remove his no-trade clause. The Brewers do have other options, but Martin Maldonado doesn’t excite anyone with his bat, while the talents waiting in Triple AAA are both good hitters, but play in a hitter friendly environment. Both Josmil Pinto and Manny Pina are good hitter, but the Brewers aren’t sure about them, especially Pinto who has plenty of defensive flaws.
The Brewers do need a good catcher for the rest of this season, and Norris makes for a good value trade. An All-Star in 2014, he’s declined since, batting only .196 this season with a .621 OPS, although he has hit 12 home runs, which means he can fill in for the power that Lucroy brought to the plate, and a new stadium and team could revitalize his career. He’s eligible for arbitration at the end of the season, and is controllable through the 2018 season. He’s making $2.9 million this season, and he won’t become too costly down the line, unless he really brings his game to the previous levels.
The Padres have a top prospect in Austin Hedges waiting for his chance. The 23-year old hasn’t done much in the majors, but he’s hitting extremely well in Triple A, so it’s easy to see why the Padres would be motivated to move Norris, even for meager returns. For the Brewers, it’s a chance to take a cheap bet on a player who could bounce back, and at least give them some experience behind the plate during their rebuild process, working with inexperienced, young pitchers as well.