1:28pm: Texas is also doing diligence on Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). He has been a popular deadline candidate in years past, twice changing hands to help bolster a contender’s catching situation.
Suzuki is for all intents and purposes a rental piece, as his vesting option (485 plate appearances) is unlikely to be triggered. The 32-year-old struggled out of the gates but has recovered to the point that he’s now among the game’s better-hitting catchers on the year, with a .288/.327/.441 slash in 246 trips to the plate.
9:32am: Padres backstop Derek Norris is a “near-lock” to be dealt before Monday’s deadline, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Rangers are one team in on the receiver, he reiterates, though there are others as well.
The catching position has seen some serious depth issues arise this year, so it’s not surprising to hear that there’s interest. And from the Padres’ perspective, giving Christian Bethancourt an expanded role while bringing up top prospect Austin Hedges obviously holds appeal.
Norris, 27, is earning $2.925MM this year with two more season of arbitration control yet to come. He is carrying only a .196/.256/.365 batting line on the year, with his slugging percentage and 12 home runs not quite offsetting a precipitous dive in the on-base department.
After a jump up in June, Norris has turned in a rough July, but he has done much more with the bat in the past. Over the prior three campaigns, he ran up a .256/.333/.405 slash. That rated out to a 108 OPS+ when factoring in the pitching-friendly parks in which he hit, which is quite productive for a backstop.
Even better, Norris has seemingly shown vast improvement in his receiving skills, with StatCorner and Baseball Prospectus rating him among the league’s best pitch framers both this year and last. And though it’s surely an imperfect measure, Defensive Runs Saved values him as the game’s second-best overall defender behind the dish.