Norris excited to help make Padres fierce competitors
Catcher introduced alongside Upton, Myers and Middlebrooks
SAN DIEGO -- While many of his other new teammates expressed surprise and even astonishment over being traded to the new-look Padres, catcher Derek Norris offered an entirely different reaction.
"I was just trying to figure out what a Padre was," Norris said, smiling.
Norris, of course, was joking Tuesday on the day he and three of his new teammates -- outfielders Justin Upton and Wil Myers and third baseman Will Middlebrooks -- were introduced during a news conference at Petco Park.
Norris was one piece of first-year general manager A.J. Preller's dizzying three-day haul last month that essentially reshaped the position player side of the roster -- moves that also included landing Matt Kemp from the Dodgers.
"These guys are making moves and wanting to compete now ... and they're not afraid of going to get big leaguers to do it," Norris said of Preller.
Norris, an All-Star last season with the A's, may not come with the credentials of, say, Upton or Kemp, but the Padres thought enough of him to trade two pitchers they thought very highly of -- Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez.
Norris, who turns 26 next month, had a strong reputation in Oakland for working with pitchers and an upside bat that produced a .270/.361/.403 line last season with 10 home runs and 55 RBIs to go along with 19 doubles all while playing in a big ballpark.
"He was a big part of what the A's did, but I think the biggest thing with Derek, in talking with our group, was how people talked about his competitiveness, his makeup, his personality, his demeanor," Preller said.
"We traded two quality catchers [Rene Rivera, Yasmani Grandal] in the last couple weeks, and in order to make the whole thing work we felt it was important to bring back a catcher who we felt would be a big part of our club the next three or four years."
Norris, who appeared in a career-high 127 games a year ago, will handle the bulk of the catching duties. As it stands today, Tim Federowicz, who came over from the Dodgers in the Kemp deal, would likely be his backup, though the Padres are looking for more experience there.