Dodgers trade two pitching prospects to Braves for Bud Norris
So begins life without Clayton Kershaw
Earlier on Thursday, the Dodgers placed Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list. Now they've gone out and acquired another starting pitcher to help fill the void, grabbing Bud Norris from the Braves in exchange for two prospects, the Dodgers announced on Thursday afternoon:
#Dodgers have acquired RHP Bud Norris, OF Dian Toscano, a player to be named later and cash considerations from the Atlanta Braves.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 30, 2016
In exchange, #Dodgers send minor league pitchers Philip Pfeifer (LHP) and Caleb Dirks (RHP) to Braves.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 30, 2016
An impending free agent, Norris is the biggest name of the bunch heading to the Dodgers. He began the season in the Braves rotation, but was exiled to the bullpen after five shaky appearances. Norris rejoined the rotation earlier this month, whereupon he rattled off an impressive five-start stretch that saw him fan a batter per inning, post a 2.15 ERA, and hold opponents to a .502 OPS.
Obviously Norris is unlikely to keep that momentum up heading forward for the same reasons that he was unlikely to enjoy such a stretch in the first place -- while his fastball and slider give righties fits, his substandard command and changeup make him susceptible to left-handed hitters. The Dodgers are presumably hoping Norris slots in as a tolerable back-end starter. Anything more being a nice bonus.
You might remember Dian Toscano as the Cuban outfielder the Braves signed in January 2015 to a four-year deal worth $6 million. He's struggled in his first exposure to professional ball, hitting .226/.310/.271 in Double-A. Consider his inclusion to be financially driven more than anything.
In exchange for their time and effort, the Braves receive two relief prospects. Dirks, originally a Braves draftee who was sent to Los Angeles last July for an international bonus slot, entered the season ranked 30th in the Dodgers' system by MLB.com. His plus fastball, average slider, and bulldog mentality give him a chance to become a seventh-inning type. Pfeifer, meanwhile, was the Dodgers' third-round pick last year. He has a good fastball, but has walked 21 batters in 32 professional innings.