Thursday, June 30, 2016

Welcome to the Blue, Bud Norris!

The Dodgers have just made another trade with the Braves.  This time, they bring along starting pitcher Bud Norris and Cuban born prospect Dian Toscano (I'll have a post on him soon).  Per a Dodger press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired right-handed pitcher Bud Norris, minor league outfielder Dian Toscano, a player to be named later and cash considerations from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Philip Pfeifer (LHP) and Caleb Dirks (RHP). To make room for Norris on the 40-man roster, Los Angeles designated left-hander Ian Thomas for assignment.

Norris has been one of the National League’s best pitchers this month, going 2-1 in six games (five starts) with Atlanta and ranking among the league’s best in ERA (2.08, 10th), opponents’ batting average (.194, 7th) and WHIP (0.96, 10th). Overall, the 31-year-old has posted a 3-7 record with a 4.22 ERA in 22 games (10 starts) this season, including a 2.08 ERA (11 ER/47.2 IP) in his last 17 games (five starts) since May 2.

In eight Major League seasons with the Astros (2009-13), Orioles (2013-15), Padres (2015) and Braves (2016), Norris has gone 59-75 with a 4.43 ERA in 218 games (176 starts) after originally being selected by Houston in the sixth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
It is likely that Bud Norris will step right into the Dodgers rotation and pitch on Friday in Los Angeles - taking the place of the recently DL'd Clayton Kershaw.  During this past winter Norris signed a one-year deal with Atlanta, and there is about $1.3MM remaining on it.  Per a recent story by Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs:
Norris has become a ground-baller, which is new. Bud Norris is making something of himself — again? — and there’s even what feels like an easy explanation.

BTW, Norris is no stranger to controversy.  Last year, as a member of the Padres, Bud Norris made some rather critical remarks about Hispanic Baseball players.  Via Larry Brown Sports:
“I think it’s a culture shock,’’ Norris said via USA Today. “This is America’s game. This is America’s pastime, and over the last 10-15 years we’ve seen a very big world influence in this game, which we as a union and as players appreciate. We’re opening this game to everyone that can play. However, if you’re going to come into our country and make our American dollars, you need to respect a game that has been here for over a hundred years, and I think sometimes that can be misconstrued. There are some players that have antics, that have done things over the years that we don’t necessarily agree with.

“I understand you want to say it’s a cultural thing or an upbringing thing. But by the time you get to the big leagues, you better have a pretty good understanding of what this league is and how long it’s been around.’’
He almost immediately apologized.  Via Dennis Lin at the San Diego Union Tribune:

"It was a quick conversation after a game, and I was getting dressed to go see my family," Norris told the Union-Tribune. "I feel my words were definitely misconstrued, but that's beside the point.

"I want to apologize for how it came out and the words that were taken out of context in passing. I apologize to anyone I might have offended. I love this game and admire everyone who plays this game with all the passion that I do."
Hopefully the California born pitcher won't find himself surrounded by controversy while in Los Angeles.  In celebration of him joining the Dodgers I made the above fantasy Baseball card of him.  I used a photo grabbed from Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports/Talking Chop and the 1992 Fleer Baseball card design.

Below are his career stats, via Baseball Reference:

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