In recent days the Indians have emerged as candidates for Derek Norris. An injury to Yan Gomes has left the team with Roberto Perez as their starting catcher. The Indians are having an outstanding year and they can’t afford to miss a beat with Gomes out. Norris would be a great fit for them, but could he be a long answer at a vital position? Gomes was hitting under .200 at the time of the injury. He is also 29 and two years older than Norris. Its pretty obvious Norris could help the Indians, but are they willing to pay the Padres steep asking price?
Juan Hillman is a left-handed starter who fits the current profile of what the Padres are looking for. He is young (19), has a decent ceiling and projects as a mid level prospect. Hillman is 2-1 this year in eight starts with a 2.41 ERA. He has struck out 30 batters in 37 innings. Yu-Cheng Chang is a right handed hitting shortstop who has blossomed a bit with the bat this season. He is currently hitting .278 with 12 homers and 68 RBI in 91 games at the high A-Ball level. The 20-year-old has a quick bat and there have been rumors that teams are currently scouting him. Shawn Morimando is another name to keep an eye on. The left-handed pitcher is major league ready at 23 and has had a decent year in the Indians farm system. He is 11-4 with a 3.22 ERA in 19 starts. The Indians have some pieces that interest the Padres, that is for sure. These two teams could hook up on an expanded deal involving bullpen pieces like Ryan Buchter and Brad Hand as well. Stay tuned.
Tampa Bay Rays
Traditionally teams looking to acquire talent at the deadline are contenders. The Rays are not contending by any means, but they do have a catching need. With Hank Conger and Curt Casali behind the dish, the Rays could use an upgrade and Norris would easily provide that. Casali is 27, but his upside is limited and he projects more as a backup catcher. Conger is a journeyman catcher who is definitely not the answer for the Rays long-term. Justin O’Conner is the closest prospect to being major league ready at the position for the Rays, but at the age of 24, he is raw and still a season or two from being even close to being ready.
What could the Rays offer? They are in the same boat presently as the Padres as the team is in a bit of a rebuild. That being said there could be an alternative that could be beneficial to both sides. The Rays are trying to move some starting pitchers and the Padres could use pitchers after the potential move of Andrew Cashner. Matt Moore makes an interesting potential option for the Padres. The left-handed pitcher was once one of the most prized starters, but after a 2014 Tommy John surgery, he is still working his way back. Moore is presently 27 and is 6-7 with a 4.31 ERA in 20 starts this season. A change of scenery could do him well and this could lead to a gold old fashion baseball trade. Value for value.
Moore is making $5-million this season and has a $7-million dollar team option (or $2.5-million dollar buyout) for the 2017 season. He also has a $9-million dollar (or $1-million dollar buyout) for the 2018 season. On top of those two team friendly years or service he also has a $10-million team option (or $750K buyout) for the 2019 season. Moore has an extremely team friendly deal in which a franchise could essentially walk away from him at any point. In 2012 and 2013 Moore looked poised to be a great pitcher. He went 11-11 in 2012 with a 3.81 ERA in 31 starts. The next season he went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA and made his first All-Star game. Late that season he developed elbow discomfort and lost the whole 2014 season due to injury. He is a bit of an injury risk, like any pitcher, but he has a very high ceiling. Norris for Moore would be a risky move but A.J. Preller is not afraid to make a deal. Thinking outside the box is Prellers forte and this potential deal is definitely that.