Last month left-hander Jordan Norberto was released by the A’s after being sidelined by an elbow injury and the reliever underwent Tommy John surgery this week.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Norberto has filed a grievance against the A’s, claiming that he should have been placed on the disabled list rather than released because he was already injured when Oakland optioned him to the minors at the end of spring training.
“I expected more from the team after the way I pitched for them last year,” Norberto told Slusser, adding that he was “disappointed” by how the whole thing played out. “But I’ll work hard and get a job with someone else.”
When the A’s released Norberto he was on the Triple-A disabled list with what was being called a strained elbow and was about halfway into a six-week recovery timetable. However, if Norberto was actually hurt earlier than that, before being demoted to the minors in late March, that information wasn’t reported on publicly. Could be an interesting case.
Meanwhile, he’ll miss all of this season and probably most of next season, wiping away any career momentum Norberto had after posting a 2.77 ERA and 46/22 K/BB ratio in 52 innings for the A’s last year.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.