The Guardians have brought veteran lefty Daniel Norris back to the organization on a minor league pact, according to the transaction tracker at MLB.com. He had elected free agency over the weekend, a few days after Cleveland designated him for assignment.
Norris has spent the 2023 campaign with the Guards. He signed a minor league deal at the end of Spring Training and was called up in mid-June. Norris was DFA within a few days, stuck around after clearing outright waivers, and returned to the bigs at the end of July. He again lost his roster spot last week, as an injury to Cam Gallagher led Cleveland to temporarily devote a 40-man roster spot to Zack Collins as a depth catcher.
The 30-year-old has made six appearances on the year, allowing seven runs (four of them earned) across 10 1/3 innings. Norris has worked out of the bullpen at the MLB level but started 12 of 18 appearances with Triple-A Columbus. He carries a 5.60 ERA across 53 innings there. Norris has a slightly below-average 19.9% strikeout rate and has walked nearly 11% of batters faced at the top minor league level. His fastball has averaged a personal-low 89 MPH in his limited MLB work.
While Norris hasn’t posted great numbers at either the MLB or Triple-A level in 2023, the Guardians are clearly comfortable with him as a depth arm. The one-time top prospect has pitched parts of 10 years in the majors with five clubs. The bulk of that time was spent in Detroit, where he got extended run out of the rotation between 2016-19.
Norris has worked almost exclusively in relief as a big leaguer over the last three seasons but has stayed stretched out as a starter in the minors. He’ll again serve as a non-roster depth option in Columbus down the stretch and will return to free agency at the start of the offseason.