The Washington Nationals announced this afternoon that they have acquired catcher Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres in return for 19-year-old minor league right-hander Pedro Avila.
Norris, 27, is a 2007 Nationals’ 4th Round pick out of Goddard High School in Goddard, Kansas, who was dealt to the Oakland Athletics as part of the package that landed Gio Gonzalez in December of 2011.
The A’s subsequently dealt the right-handed hitting and throwing backstop to the Padres back in December of 2014.
In five major league seasons, the receiver has posted a combined .233/.309/.380 line coming off a .186/.255/.328, 17 double, 14 HR, -0.4 fWAR campaign with the Padres, (which was down from 2.2, 2.6 and 2.4 fWAR seasons in the previous three years).
In a press release on the deal this afternoon, the Nationals mentioned Norris’s pitch framing ability:
“In the past three seasons, Norris has averaged 133 games per year, including averaging 122 of them behind the plate.
According to Baseball Prospectus, Norris ranked 10th in Major League Baseball in framing runs above average (9.2).”
Norris is now the second player in the original trade for Gonzalez that has returned to the Nationals’ organization after they dealt Norris, A.J. Cole, Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock to the A’s and then reacquired Cole in 2013 in a deal that also brought Blake Treinen to D.C. as part of a three-team trade with the Seattle Mariners.
The Padres are getting Avila, 19, who signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Caracas, Venezuela in 2014 and spend the 2016 campaign at Low-A Hagerstown, posting a (7-7) record in 20 starts over which he had a 3.48 ERA, a 4.27 FIP, 38 walks (3.68 BB/9) and 92 Ks (8.90 K/9) in 93 innings pitched.
Washington also avoided arbitration with veteran backup backstop Jose Lobaton last night, and they have Pedro Severino in the mix behind the plate with Wilson Ramos a free agent now after serving as their primary catcher for the last few seasons before he suffered a second significant right knee injury late last season.