Two years after A.J. Preller burst onto the San Diego scene in a flurry of deal-making, the only major piece left from that first off-season is Wil Myers. Derek Norris has been sent to the Nationals, according to SB Nation’s own Chris Cotillo.
RHP Pedro Avila heads to San Diego for Norris.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 2, 2016
Derek Norris came to the Padres with Seth Streich in exchange for Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez. He was just coming off an All-Star season with the A’s, and his bat was supposed to be a solid addition to the lineup, even if his defense might be lacking. In 2015, he was solid enough on offense, but surprised on defense, catching 34% of would-be base stealers, doubling his numbers from the year before. It seemed the team was going to have a dilemma on their hands, with Austin Hedges looming in El Paso.
But Norris had a disastrous 2016, hitting just .186 for the year. Backup catcher Christian Bethancourt outhit him forty points, while also making himself useful literally everywhere else. And with Hedges still ready for the big leagues, Norris looked like a man without a home next year.
In return, the Padres are getting Nationals prospect Pedro Avila. There’s not a lot of information available on the 19 year old pitcher, but the righty burst onto the scene in 2015 when he destroyed the Dominican Summer League. He turned in a 2.26 ERA over 59.2 innings, while punching out just over thirteen batters every nine innings. It was good enough for the Nats to send him up to their Gulf Coast League rookie team for his last start of the year, where he tossed four shutout innings.
He wasn’t quite as lights out in his move up to A-ball this year, but still put up a 3.48 ERA. Reports are that his fastball sits in the mid-nineties and his curveball is better than average. With the Padres bats looking more fleshed out by the likes of Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot, stocking up on potential pitchers seems like a good move for Preller.