WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Before the team workout on Tuesday morning, Nationals manager Dusty Baker pulled Derek Norris aside. Baker wanted to let him know -- before he read it on social media or heard it from somewhere else -- that the Nats were closing in on a deal
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Before the team workout on Tuesday morning, Nationals manager Dusty Baker pulled Derek Norris aside. Baker wanted to let him know -- before he read it on social media or heard it from somewhere else -- that the Nats were closing in on a deal for free-agent catcher Matt Wieters.
Baker said although Norris was disappointed about the deal, which is still pending a physical, he was appreciative that the team came to him first.
"It's part of the business," Norris said. "There's no personal ties to anything. It's a business, and you've got a GM who's trying to win. If he thinks something that's not up to par or seeks out something that he thinks is better, then he's going to do it. So it is what it is."
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The Nationals acquired Norris in a trade from the Padres in exchange for Minor League right-hander Pedro Avila in December, thinking he was due for a bounceback from a down year in San Diego. Despite that early move, Washington had still been consistently linked to Wieters while publicly saying it was content with Norris as its starting catcher. Meanwhile, Norris was excited to return to the team that drafted him in 2007.
Now the Nationals will have a surplus at catcher with Wieters, Norris, Jose Lobaton and Pedro Severino all expected to compete for playing time this season. The Nats also have to make a roster move to add Wieters to the mix, considering their current roster stands at 40 players. Perhaps this newfound catching depth will allow the Nationals to make a trade for the closer they have been searching for all offseason.
Norris holds the most potential to be a starting catcher now, which means his future with the Nats is in question. And while Baker said the team would allow the situation to play out, he suggested the Nats may try to trade Norris.
"There's always somebody out there that needs a frontline catcher," Baker said.
Norris said he still wants to start, and as long as he is in camp, he will compete as such.
"I think anyone that's a competitor wants to be in there every single day," Norris said. "I'm always going to strive to better myself to help the team win. Whatever happens happens, but as of right now, today, I'm going out, and I want to start Opening Day and start every single day. Obviously, that's probably not going to be the way things pan out, but that's the kind of player I am and always will be."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.