With Clayton Kershaw going on the DL, the Los Angeles Dodgers need to upgrade the pitching rotation. They took a step towards that on Thursday, acquiring Bud Norris from the Atlanta Braves.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post added that Atlanta will acquire two Minor League pitchers — lefty Phillip Pfeifer and righty Caleb Dirks — for Norris.
Even with the pending returns of Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-jin Ryu, the Dodgers need pitching help. In reality, the need for pitching help predates Kershaw’s trip to the DL. Los Angeles is 43-37, which sounds good. But it is 29-35 in games not started by Kershaw.
Now, is Norris that guy? His career 4.43 ERA and 1.40 WHIP would say no. Recent trends, on the other hand, tell a dramatically different story.
This isn’t a terribly high-risk for Los Angeles. Pfeifer and Dirks are not highly-touted prospects. Even if one or both of them overachieves, the Dodgers have a deep Minor League system. So they aren’t exactly mortgaging the future.
Additionally, Norris is a safe acquisition. He has a modest salary this year and is a free agent at season’s end. If he regresses, Los Angeles can easily part ways with him. If not, then the Dodgers might have landed a gem.
Bud Norris may not be the sexiest name and Los Angeles certainly can’t stop with this trade. Still, this move is a step in the right direction.