Hot Stove Digest: Nationals bring back Derek Norris in trade with Padres

Welcome to The Stew’s Hot Stove Digest, our daily rundown of MLB news, rumors and gossip for Hot Stove season. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

WELCOME BACK: The Washington Nationals made a trade Friday, but it wasn’t the deal everyone was anticipating. While the Andrew McCutchen watch continues into Saturday, the Nationals did acquire veteran catcher Derek Norris from the Padres in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Pedro Avila.

The trade brings Norris’ career full circle in many ways. He was drafted by Washington in the fourth round of the 2007 amateur draft, but never appeared for them in the major leagues. Instead, he was traded to the Oakland A’s before the 2011 season in the Gio Gonzalez trade. After three season in Oakland, Norris was then traded to San Diego. Now he’s back in Washington where it’s expected he’ll compete for regular playing time. It’s also believed this trade will mark the end of Wilson Ramos’ time in Washington.

New Nationals catcher Derek Norris tags out Buster Posey of the Giants during a game on Sept. 13, 2016. (AP)
New Nationals catcher Derek Norris tags out Buster Posey of the Giants during a game on Sept. 13, 2016. (AP)

Norris is coming off a down year after hitting just .186/.255/.328. He has a solid track record though after earning an All-Star selection in 2014. [@Nationals]

NON-TENDERED: Friday at 8 p.m. ET marked the deadline for teams to tender or not-tender a contract to arbitration-eligible players. Here’s a look at those who are now free agents, including former Padres ace Tyson Ross. [MLB Daily Dish]

DONE DEAL: Veteran first baseman Yonder Alonso avoided arbitration on Friday, agreeing to a one-year, $4M deal with the A’s. [@susanslusser]

SALE SWEEPSTAKES: The list of teams interested in trading for Chris Sale is lengthy, and perhaps a little more defined thanks to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. According to Heyman, the Nationals, Astros, Red Sox, Rangers and Braves are believed to have separated themselves from the pack in trade talks. This news could be an indication of Sale’s future, or it could be old news by the winter meetings. [FanRag Sports]

DONE DEAL: The Cubs have added veteran reliever Brian Duensing on a one-year, $2M deal. [@JonHeyman]

UH OH: Albert Pujols’ opening day status is in serious question after undergoing surgery on his right foot for the second straight offseason. [The Stew]

SCRABBLE ALERT: Free agent left-handed Marc Rzepczynski completed a two-year, $11.5M deal with the Mariners on Friday. He’ll earn $5.5M in each of the two seasons. [@jcrasnick]

Will the Giants try to trade for J.D. Martinez? (AP)
Will the Giants try to trade for J.D. Martinez? (AP)

POSSIBLE FIT: The Giants are exploring all avenues for a power-hitting outfielder. That includes J.D. Martinez, whom Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan notes the Tigers are known to be shopping. It’s also noted that the Giants are keying on players like Martinez and Jay Bruce because they wouldn’t bring a long-term commitment. Both players are free agents following the 2017 season. [@hankschulman]

CATCHER SWAP: Moments after non-tendering veteran catcher Welington Castillo, the Arizona Diamondbacks inked Jeff Mathis, another veteran backstop, to a two-year, $4M deal. [@nickpiecoro]

DRAWING INTEREST: The Royals have reportedly received multiple trade inquiries on speedster Jarrod Dyson. Like several Royals teammates — including Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar and Wade Davis — the 32-year-old right fielder will be a free agent following the 2017 season, which may heighten the Royals interest in moving him. [@jcrasnick]

BACKUP PLANS: While the Nationals remain focused on acquiring Andrew McCutchen, they’re also making backup plans in case that deal never materializes. Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are also considering Dexter Fowler, Adam Eaton, Carlos Gomez and even Ian Desmond as potential center field options. [FanRag Sports]

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!