According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the Rays are signing catcher Derek Norris. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports it’s a one-year contract for less than $2 million. Norris is arbitration-eligible in 2018, giving the Rays two years of control.
Norris was released by the Nationals last week and was rumored to be on the trade block since February when Washington signed Matt Wieters to be its everyday catcher. Norris was reportedly also drawing interest from the Blue Jays and other clubs.
In Tampa Bay, Norris figures to have his best chance at playing time. Wilson Ramos, signed to a two-year contract over the winter, remains without a firm timetable to return from his torn ACL. He hopes to be able to DH at some point in May, but there have also been whispers Ramos may not be ready to play until July. That leaves Norris and Curt Casali as backstop options for the Rays.
Norris slashed an ugly .186/.255/.328 last season for the Padres before being traded to the Nationals in the offseason. Still just 28 years old with a history of success as a hitter, Norris has bounce-back potential playing in the hitter-friendly AL East.