President of Baseball Operations AJ Preller has made his first trade of the 2021 regular season, acquiring right-handed reliever James Norwood from the Chicago Cubs for pitching prospect Dauris Valdez. The move was announced on Monday by both organizations.
Valdez, 25, spent four minor league seasons in San Diego's minor league system and reached Double-A in 2019, pitching to a 4.23 ERA with a 1.428 WHIP. His fastball "routinely hits triple-digits", according to MLB Pipeline's scouting report.
In return, the Padres are getting an additional arm that can be ready at the alternate site in case the bullpen continues to experience injuries. To begin the regular season Dan Altavilla (calf), Austin Adams (elbow), and Pierce Johnson (groin) are on the IL, which allowed Ryan Weathers, Nabil Crismatt, and Taylor Williams to make the Opening Day roster. Jose Castillo and Michel Baez are already out for the season, as both need Tommy John surgery.
Norwood, who was designated for assignment earlier in the week, has pitched in three Major League seasons for the Cubs, but didn't throw more than 11 innings in any of the three seasons. Most recently in 2020, Norwood experienced some shoulder problems--limiting him to just three appearances for a total of 1.2 innings in a shortened 2020 season.
Because Norwood is added to the 40-man roster, someone had to be moved off of it to create roster space. Javy Guerra, who dealt with elbow problems in Spring Training, was moved to the 60-day IL.