Derek Norris, the top catching prospect who was part of the Gio Gonzalez trade, made his major league debut this afternoon.
He threw out Dee Gordon in a key 9th inning situation helping put the A’s in position to win in the bottom of the ninth. But that isn’t why I am writing about him.
Look at this guy. He’s what a catcher is supposed to look like. Stocky. Tough. Grizzled. Possibly angry.
Just in terms of visual aesthetics, this bearded intimidating figure is what you want in a catcher.
And so far he has caught one game in the bigs and the A’s let up a single run and he threw out the go ahead run in the 9th inning trying to steal. So at least in his first game, he passed the catchers test.
The A’s were criticized for making so many deals this off season, sending young pitchers like Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey, reinforcing a cheapskate image without the heroic Scott Hatteberg Moneyball home run to redeem the team.
But Josh Reddick, brought over from Boston, already has 15 homers while Bailey has yet to pitch a game for the Red Sox.
Cahill has pitched well for Arizona. However Jarrod Parker, the main chip in the trade, is pitching to a lower ERA. And the A’s also got from the D-Backs Ryan Cook, who has been outstanding in the bullpen and Collin Cowgill, who has played well in the outfield.
And while Gio Gonzalez is a Cy Young contender in Washington, the A’s haul in that deal has been on display each of the last two games.
Pitcher Tommy Milone threw a complete game victory yesterday to raise his record to 7-5. And Derek Norris showed today that he is ready behind the plate.
In the end, the Athletics might very well have the last laugh on all of the trade. However it does not look like Norris will be laughing at anything any time soon.
So as the Athletics out together their latest playoff team for Oakland (or San Jose or Fremont or wherever they will end up), they appear to have a catcher straight out of central casting.