Cardinals reportedly sign reliever Bud Norris to a one-year, $3M deal
Norris likely becomes a setup man for closer Luke Gregerson
The Cardinals have signed reliever Bud Norris, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, as the club continues to reshape its bullpen following an inconsistent season and losses to the back-end. Per Rosenthal, it's a one-year deal worth $3 million with the chances for "significant" incentives.
Norris, 32, saved 19 games in 23 chances last season with a 4.21 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 74 strikeouts in 62 innings last season for the Angels. He was actually very good in the first half, pitching to a 2.23 ERA and holding opponents to a .183/.272/.275 line, but he posted a 7.01 ERA in the second half. He was hampered by a knee injury in the final two months, so that was likely part of the issue.
The Cardinals ended up seventh in baseball with a 3.81 bullpen ERA last season, but consistency -- notably at the back-end -- was an issue for much of the season. Trevor Rosenthal worked back into the closer role and started to give them some reliability, but he tore his UCL and had to have Tommy John surgery. He's . Seung-hwan Oh and Juan Nicasio also spent time closing and departed via free agency.
The 2018 Cardinals closer figures to be Luke Gregerson, who was signed as a free agent. Dominic Leone was acquired in the trade of Randal Grichuk to the Blue Jays and he will join Norris and holdover Tyler Lyons as setup men for Gregerson. Lefty Brett Cecil is also a late-inning candidate.
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