According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Nationals have placed catcher Derek Norris on waivers, likely with the intent to release him. Rumors of the catcher’s release cropped up earlier in the month after it became apparent that the club would have little success trading him before the start of the season.
Norris, 28, slashed a mere .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016. His career .233 average and .689 OPS are little better, and with Matt Wieters, Jose Lobaton and Pedro Severino on the books, it’s no surprise that the Nationals would rather eat 30 days of Norris’ termination pay than convince a trade partner to take on the $4.2 million he would otherwise be owed.
Heyman adds that Norris could find a potential landing place with the Royals, who might be in the market for a backup catcher after Salvador Perez was involved in a brutal collision during Saturday’s Venezuela-Italy match at the World Baseball Classic. An MRI revealed no structural damage to Perez’s knee, but there’s no word yet on how much time the catcher is expected to miss while he waits for the inflammation to subside.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.