The Blue Jays are reportedly singing Bud Norris to a minor league contract. Norris, 33, spent the 2018 season in St. Louis with the Cardinals.
According to Craig Mish of SiriusXM, the Blue Jays are signing RHP Bud Norris to a contract, with Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi adding that the deal will be of the minor league variety. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and TSN’s Scott Mitchell were among those to confirm the signing.
Furthermore, Robert Murray of The Athletic reports that Norris could make $3 million if in the majors and could add an additional $1.25 million in incentives.
Norris, 33, has appeared in games with the Cardinals, Angels, Padres, Orioles, Astros, Dodgers and Braves over the course of his 10-year major-league career.
Most recently, with the Cardinals, he pitched to an ERA of 3.59 while racking up 28 saves in 57.2 innings. In 2017, with the Angels, he pitched to an ERA of 4.21 in 62.0 innings.
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As Laura Armstrong of The Toronto Star points out, the Blue Jays could conceivably use Norris as an opener, if that is a strategy they intend on pursuing. With a career xFIP of 4.02, he could work in that role.
Still, the native of Greenbrae, California will most likely be used as trade bait if he performs admirably during the first half of the 2019 season. Also with the reported addition of the Clay Bucholz on Thursday as well, suddenly the Blue Jays have a few more veteran options on their pitching staff. As for Norris, Fangraphs’ Steamer system projects him to appear in 60 games and pitch to an ERA of 3.83.
For his career, Norris has appeared in 355 games (85th among active MLB pitchers), has racked up 67 wins (55th) and 47 saves (46th). Over the past three seasons, he has thrown 232.2 innings.
Regardless, he’ll likely be tested in his early appearances, which should set the tone for how Charlie Montoyo and the coaching staff will use him going forward.