The Cardinals needed bullpen help, and they got it by signing Bud Norris. Can he be a fantasy asset in deep leagues?
The St. Louis Cardinals made a few big moves this offseason. Yet, the bullpen was a position that needed some help. With Trevor Rosenthal set to miss all of 2018 and was subsequently released and Seung-hwan Oh signing with the Rangers, the team had a void to fill.
The Cardinals decided to go after a veteran to fill in the spots left by those two relievers. The team announced Monday morning that they signed Bud Norris to a one-year deal. The 32-year-old spent last season with the Los Angeles Angels.
In 62.0 innings, Norris posted a 4.21 ERA, 1.339 WHIP, 10.7 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. He also recorded 19 saves in the carousel that was the Angels closer job. He did miss some time due to a knee injury.
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The negative is his inflated line drive and HR/FB rates. Norris posted a 21.6 line drive rate in 2016 but that went up three percent this year. His HR/FB rate also rose 2.4 percent between the two seasons. His ground ball and fly ball rates stayed the same, though.
The Cardinals added a reliever earlier in the offseason. Luke Gregerson signed back in December. Roster Resource lists Gregerson as the team’s closer, putting a damper on Norris’ fantasy value this season. However, if Gregerson struggles or gets hurt, I think Norris is the next in line to get save chances.
Norris could make his way into the Cardinals starting rotation, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals have Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, recently signed Miles Mikolas and Luke Weaver as their starting five.
With many teams shortening their starters’ outings, they could go with a six-man rotation. Or, Norris could be used as a spot starter or fill in should one of those other five get hurt. Young pitcher Alex Reyes underwent Tommy John surgery, but we likely won’t see him this season.
The possibility of Norris earning some starts helps his fantasy value in NL-only or deep mixed leagues. As a starter, he posted a career 4.44 ERA, 1.397 WHIP and a 61-70 record over 188 starts.
Norris is an intriguing signing in the real baseball world. He doesn’t make a big impact in fantasy. If he becomes a regular starter, then that may change. You can pass on him during your draft but maybe flag him as someone to watch with the possibility of some saves or quality starts.