Blue Jays hope for one last favor from Daniel Norris


When the Toronto Blue Jays built a package around top prospect Daniel Norris in the David Price deal to Detroit, the team did so knowing that the left-hander was ready to pitch at the Major League level in some rotations around the league. The Tigers, preferring to retool rather than strip down and rebuild around Miguel Cabrera, targeted this as a way to bounce back sooner, not later. On Sunday, Norris will have his first opportunity to help his new team, and in doing so, pay the Blue Jays one last favor. 

Baltimore now sits one game ahead of Toronto in the AL East and 5.0 back of the New York Yankees after a 7-3 run over their last 10 games. They are also the one team standing between the Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins in the Wild Card. With Toronto’s revamped roster we’ve set our sights on the podiums, but it’s important that we don’t mentally dismiss teams with the same objective.

After winning a spot in the rotation out of spring training, Norris lasted just five games with the Blue Jays despite posting a respectable 3.86 ERA that was the lowest of any starter at the time of his demotion. A 1.500 WHIP and 12 walks in 23.1 innings, though, get to the heart of Toronto’s decision. Norris was not himself on the mound and lacked the velocity that had propelled him into the top-20 prospects in Major League Baseball. His AAA stint was supposed to be a short adjustment period. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

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In 16 starts with the AAA Buffalo Bisons, Norris posted a 4.27 ERA and walked 41 batters in 90.2 innings. With the likes of Felix Doubront filling the fifth rotation spot, Norris was always one step away, but something wasn’t clicking for the young man with ace potential.

There’s an interesting hypothetical to take away from all of this, though. If Norris had of climbed back onto the 25-man roster and performed well enough to stick, perhaps with an ERA hovering around 4.00 or just below, is David Price a Toronto Blue Jay today?

Regardless, Norris will now embark on a new journey, and by taking a successful first step, he can help out an old friend. The talent has not gone anywhere, and in this game and all those to come, we wish Norris the very best. When he appeared on the Jays Nest Podcast in May, our co-host Shaun Doyle asked him for tips on growing the perfect beard, something Norris has, quite frankly, accomplished.

“Let the big dog eat,” was his reply. A perfect answer. So wherever you may roam, Daniel, let the big dog eat. You’ll forever have a spot in the minds of Blue Jays fans, especially if you could, you know, just help us out a little today?

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