Washington Nationals' catcher Derek Norris, who lost the starting job due to the late winter signing of Matt Wieters, has been placed on waivers, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Washington had acquired him early in the offseason from the San Diego Padres for righty Pedro Avila.
At this point in the year, it is extremely unlikely that a team will sign Norris with intent for him to play at the major league level. That said, there is a spot that could open up in the Kansas City Royals after Salvador Perez hurt his knee in the World Baseball Classic. Although it is unknown how severe Perez’s injury is, Norris must be prepared to jump into action. After all, he is the best free agent catcher left.
Norris is an established major league catcher. His batting average will not blow you away; Norris is a .233 hitter in five career seasons. That said, the former Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres backstop has been a constant presence behind both of the two plates he has managed in his career. In 2015 and 2016, Norris played 272 out of 324 possible games. For a major league catcher, 52 games missed is not a lot.
Norris is off to a solid start in his spring with the Nationals. In a limited sample, He has six hits in 15 at-bats, along with two home runs. By keeping around this level of play, he would easily best his 2016 season where he hit just .186 last season with a .255 on-base percentage.
It is possible that Norris will have to wait until the regular season starts and long term injuries start arising in teams. Catcher is a very physically demanding position, so it is very posible a household name will get hurt. In that case, Norris could be called in to step in and play. As of now, it is just a waiting game.