Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns likes getting bullpen arms that no one expects and 2021 will be no different. Reports have Milwaukee acquiring Tigers reliever Daniel Norris in a trade.
It has long been expected that the Brewers would get another bullpen arm at the deadline and while Norris isn’t one of the top shelf arms, he was a top prospect when he came up to the big leagues and is left-handed.
The Milwaukee Brewers have addressed their bullpen depth, although not with a big name pitcher to help close down games.
Daniel Norris has a 5.89 ERA in 38 appearances this year, although his advanced metrics look a little bit better. He has a 3.78 FIP and a 9.8 K/9.
Against lefty hitters, Norris has allowed just a .555 OPS, so Milwaukee has gotten themselves a left specialist, even though the 3 batter minimum has mostly eliminated that position in baseball.
Norris has a fastball-slider-changeup pitch mix and his fastball averages around 92 MPH, which isn’t that great.
Norris is a rental, hitting free agency at the end of the year, and has a $3.475MM salary for the season. The Brewers will only be on the hook for about a third of that.
Daniel Norris was a Top 25 prospect in all of baseball in 2014. His career hasn’t panned out as expected, but perhaps there’s still some of that potential in his arm the Brewers are hoping to tap into.
Who did the Brewers give up in return to get Daniel Norris?
The Brewers sent minor league RHP Reese Olson to the Tigers in exchange for Norris. Olson has a 4.30 ERA for the High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers this season and was a 13th round pick in 2018.
Olson wasn’t on any Brewers Top 30 lists and is a low-level arm that impressed some people early in the season, but he’s struggled of late.
Overall, Stearns acquired some help for his big league roster with Eduardo Escobar and now Norris without giving up a single Top 30 prospect. For a team with a farm system that’s still trying to grow it’s prospect depth, that’s a couple of huge wins for the organization. Escobar is likely to have more of an impact on the roster than Norris, but this could be a solid piece.
The Brewers have taken talented pitchers that have struggled elsewhere and turned them into really good players before.