6:25pm: The Guardians have announced that Norris has accepted the outright assignment to Triple-A.
12:20pm: Daniel Norris has cleared waivers, and the Guardians have outrighted the veteran left-hander off their 40-man roster. Cleveland designated Norris for assignment earlier this week.
The next step is for Norris to decide whether or not to accept the outright assignment, since he has the option of instead becoming a free agent. It was less than two weeks ago that Norris took that very path after another outright assignment, but he then quickly re-signed with Cleveland on a new minor league deal. Since initially signing with the Guardians back in March, Norris has been DFA’ed and outrighted on three different occasions.
Amidst all those transactions, Norris has made seven appearances with the Guards, posting a 5.68 ERA over 12 innings. Most of the damage came last Monday, when Norris was charged with four earned runs over two innings of relief work in the Guardians’ 10-6 loss to the Twins. Norris issued more walks (12) than strikeouts (11) over his 12 frames, and he also has a 10.8% walk rate over 53 innings with Triple-A Columbus this season.
While the small sample size of Norris’ MLB work might be an explanation for the spike in walk rate, his control has been a bit more of an issue over the previous two seasons as well — a 7.8% walk rate over Norris’ first 454 career innings from 2014-20 shot up to an 11.8% total in 115 2/3 innings in 2021-22. Between the walks and home run problems, Norris’ transition to mostly relief pitching hasn’t been too successful, as he has a 5.68 ERA since the start of the 2021 season.
The Guardians’ pitching depth chart has gotten more crowded with all their recent waiver claims, which could lead to Norris testing free agency again if he thinks opportunities might be scarce on the Guards’ big league roster. If Norris chooses to accept the outright assignment, he’ll provide more depth at the minor league level and will probably still be one of the first arms in line for a call-up should a need arise in Cleveland’s bullpen.