Late last night, Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports reported that the Washington Nationals have waived catcher Derek Norris
On the night before Matt Wieters makes his Washington Nationals spring debut, the Nats made a decision on one of their catchers. Jon Heyman of MLB Network and Fanrag Sports reported that the Nats placed Derek Norris on waivers. The team has not yet confirmed the move. Here is more from what Heyman wrote in his column:
"“There is no likelihood anyone would claim him and take his $4.2-million salary at this stage, but the Nats are believed only responsible for 30 days termination pay (around $700K) if, as expected, they wind up releasing him… The Nats have been trying to trade Norris but have not been successful doing so.”"
Before the Wieters signing, everyone expected Norris to be the Opening Day catcher. However, the Washington Nationals decided to take advantage of Wieters still being on the market and signed him to a two-year, $21 million deal (opt-out after this season).
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Norris was having a good spring for the Washington Nationals. In 15 at-bats, he had six hits, including a pair of home runs and three RBI’s. Normally, you would think that would have good trade value to another team looking for a catcher that has power and is a good receiver behind the plate.
However, the problem that the Nats had was that no team was looking for a catcher at his contract price of $4.2 million. Most of the teams that need a catcher are in rebuilding mode. With that being said, it would be interesting if the Nats could’ve worked out a deal with the Royals before March 15.
In yesterday’s World Baseball Classic, Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez injured his knee on a play at the plate for team Venezuela. But, as Heyman tweeted last night, it sounds like Perez will be okay:
This move further emphasizes the Nats are in win now mode. With Norris gone, their catching situation is a mystery after this season if Wieters is to opt out. They do have Pedro Severino as the triple-A catcher, but will he be ready by the 2018 season? Right now, it looks like Jose Lobaton will be the backup catcher when the season begins April 3.
All in all, the Nats ended up trading a low-A pitching prospect (Pedro Avila) for a player that won’t be on their team when the season starts. A lot of people thought the team could platoon Wieters and Norris, but they didn’t sign Wieters for him to be a platoon catcher.
It will be interesting to see what team decides to sign Norris, but he handled the situation as well as anyone could handle it.