Padres acquire RHP James Norwood from Cubs

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The San Diego Padres announced a trade with the Chicago Cubs in which San Diego acquired RHP James Norwood in exchange for RHP Dauris Valdez.

To open up a roster spot for Norwood, the Padres placed RHP Javy Guerra on the 60-day injured list.

Norwood is a relief pitcher with minimal major league experience. He appeared in the big leagues in each of the last three seasons for the Cubs.

In those three years, Norwood tallied 22 innings in 23 appearances, totaling 21 strikeouts to go along with his career 4.50 ERA and 1.864 WHIP.

Norwood’s pitch arsenal includes two offspeed pitches, a changeup/splitter, and a slider to go along with his powerful slider, which he used as a sinker in 2020.

The sinker averages at 97.2 mph with a downward run towards the arm side. None of the RHP in the Padres bullpen throw a power sinker like Norwood does, so this could be a valuable pitch to change things up in a series.

His splitter is the faster of the two offspeed pitches, averaging 87.7 MPH in 2019 and 88.4 MPH in 2020. According to Baseball Savant, the splitter had an average of 33.1 inches of drop. Norwood’s 4-seamer had 14.1 inches of drop in 2019. For comparison- Norwood primarily used the 4-seamer in 2019.

Norwood throws an untraditional slider, one that drops more than it runs. He threw 42 sliders in 2019. They averaged 38.2 inches of vertical movement but only 1.1 inches of horizontal movement.

Although the Padres opened up a 40-man roster spot to acquire Norwood, he is being optioned to the alternate training site where he will work before making his Padres debut at some point.

Valdez, the Cubs’ acquisition, is a hard-throwing minor league reliever. He is 25 years old and is yet to make it past AA.

After seeing success in low-A, Valdez received a promotion to A+ Lake Elsinore for the 2018 season. Since then, Valdez is yet to have a season with a sub-4 ERA. It is safe to say that Chicago is betting on his upside to make it to the big leagues eventually.

Padres general manager A.J. Preller is always working to improve his ball club, whether it is with small or big moves. This trade certainly classifies a small move, but the small moves, if made correctly, are sometimes the most important to building a championship roster.

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