Derek Norris is the other veteran the Detroit Tigers brought in over the offseason to compete behind the plate. Norris has played in six major league seasons, starting with Oakland back in 2012.
He spent his first three years in the majors with the A’s, improving offensively each season. In 2014, Norris hit a career-high .270 and was an All-Star.
Prior to the 2015 campaign, Norris was dealt to San Diego. The 2015 campaign saw him post career-highs in homers (14), RBI (62), and doubles (33). After another season in San Diego, he was traded back to the club that drafted him, the Washington Nationals.
He was released during spring training and latched on with Tampa Bay. Norris hit .201 in 53 games for the Rays before he was suspended by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. Tampa Bay released Norris, who sat out the rest of 2017.
If Norris makes the team, it will be because of his bat, and the power he can provide. Defense has never been his strong suit, having caught just 25% of opposing runners in the majors.
With the suspension in his recent past and his offensive numbers declining before the suspension anyway, Norris has a lot to prove in spring camp. So far, he’s off to a good start. In four appearances, Norris is 3-for-7 at the plate with a homer and four RBI.
If he can recapture the offensive form he showed earlier in his career, he could provide some much-needed pop to the Detroit Tigers lineup. If not, his attempt at a comeback will likely need to come elsewhere.