- The Washington Times - Friday, December 2, 2016

A day after signing Jose Lobaton to a one-year deal, the Washington Nationals made a second move to shore up the catcher position by acquiring former all-star Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor-league pitcher Pedro Avila.

Norris was originally drafted in the fourth round in 2007 by Washington. He was sent to the Oakland Athletics as part of the trade for left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez, and made his debut with Oakland in 2012. Norris is two years removed from being named an all-star in Oakland in 2014, when he finished with a .763 OPS.

Re-signing Lobaton and adding Norris, who will be 28 years old when the season starts, means the Nationals were not ready to make prospect Pedro Severino a full-time part of the catching unit yet. It also signals the anticipated end of Wilson Ramos’ run with the organization. Ramos tore the ACL in his right knee Sept. 27, abruptly ending the best season of his career just before he became a free agent.

Norris had the worst season of his career last year in San Diego. He hit .186 and struck out a career-high 139 times. His OPS was just .583.

Avila had a 2.93 ERA in 34 games (33 starts) across two seasons in Washington’s minor league system. He started 20 games for Single-A Hagerstown in 2016, going 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA. In 2015, his 87 strikeouts tied for the most in the Dominican Summer League.

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