The Nationals are showing interest in free agent reliever Bud Norris, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). Per the report, the club would still like to stay beneath the luxury tax line with any new additions.
With bullpen issues jumping up right out of the gate this year, the Nationals are understandably looking to find reinforcements. While superstar closer Craig Kimbrel remains available, he’ll still cost quite a bit. Otherwise, the market is largely devoid of appealing options outside of old friend Ryan Madson, who never seemed to be pursuing a contract in earnest.
Norris dealt with some forearm fatigue this spring after signing late. He was cut loose recently by the Blue Jays when he and the team did not see eye to eye on his readiness for MLB action. He had signed a minor-league deal with the Toronto organization — quite a surprising result after he turned in a solid 2018 season.
Working as the Cardinals closer for much of the ’18 campaign, Norris pitched to a 3.59 ERA with 10.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 over 57 2/3 innings. He sat at 95 with his four-seam fastball and carried a 12%+ swinging-strike rate for the second consecutive season.