Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos made an appearance on the Brady and Walker Show on Sportsnet 590 this morning and touched on a few subjects to do with the Blue Jays moving forward. Among the topics, Anthopoulos touched on the return of Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion, as well as the futures of Danny Valencia and Juan Francisco in the line-up. However, it was when the conversation turned to Daniel Norris that the conversation turned interesting.
Talking with Ben Ennis and Mike Wilner, the Blue Jays GM answered the question that at the beginning of the season seemed like a long shot, “Will Daniel Norris make an appearance with the Blue Jays in 2014?”, and the answer was somewhat surprising.
"“No doubt Norris could come up. We’re not saying ‘No doubt he definitely comes up’, but he’s definitely earned consideration” – Alex Anthopoulos"
After having dominated to start the season at Single-A Dunedin, Norris made 4 starts with Double-A New Hampshire and then promptly got promoted to Triple-A Buffalo. That’s three levels in a single season, a huge step already and it would be difficult to press the Blue Jays to push him further up the ladder. However, the 21-year-old has dominated minor league hitters and we could certainly make the case that he’s earned it.
Needless to say, Daniel Norris has taken a big step forward, and fans have seemingly penciled him into the 2015 rotation, but it is worth noting that he is just 21-years-old and at 108.2 innings, Norris is already 18 innings higher than his previous high. If the Blue Jays were to call him up in September, it would be done in a similar fashion to what the Jays are doing with Aaron Sanchez, using him out of the bullpen.
However, there is one other item worth noting that Norris is not yet on the 40-man roster, meaning that the Blue Jays would need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster prior to promoting him. While Anthopoulos seemed to indicate that this wouldn’t hold Norris back, it may depend on where the Blue Jays stand on September 1st, as a team in the middle of a playoff push may be less than eager to clear roster space by dropping a veteran for an innings-limited rookie .
It is also worth noting that Norris doesn’t require 40-man status until after the 2015 season in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. With Dalton Pompey, Andy Burns, and John Stilson among the players requiring that protection following this season, the Blue Jays will already be pressed to find available roster spots this winter as it is, so by pushing Norris a year early, the Jays may further inhibit themselves.
That all said, Daniel Norris is a talented prospect and one that has many Blue Jays fans excited for the trio of starting prospects that will one day anchor the rotation. His time will come in Toronto, whether it is this season or next.
We’ll just have to wait a few weeks to determine just how anxious the Blue Jays are to get that clock started.