LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have filled their desperate and immediate need for a starting pitcher, acquiring Bud Norris from the Braves, the team announced on Thursday. LA also receives outfielder Dian Toscano and a player to be named later plus cash considerations from the Braves.
The price for Norris is a pair of minor league pitchers, Phil Pfeifer and Caleb Dirks. The Dodgers essentially bought Dirks from Atlanta last season, trading an international bonus slot with a value of $249,000 for both Dirks and outfielder Jordan Paroubeck.
Norris, 31, has a 4.22 ERA and 3.84 FIP in 22 games this season, including 10 starts for the Braves, with 60 strikeouts and 28 walks in 70⅓ innings. But his season has really been split into three acts so far for the right-hander.
In April, Norris struggled badly in the starting rotation, putting up an 8.74 ERA with six home runs allowed in 22⅔ innings. Then in relief work, Norris had a 1.96 ERA in 12 games, with nine walks and 14 strikeouts in 18⅓ innings. That earned Norris a return to the rotation on June 4 with a start against the Dodgers.
Since rejoining the rotation, Norris has a 2.15 ERA with 29 strikeouts and only eight walks in 29⅓ innings. He hasn't allowed a home run since April.
The difference? A new cutter, it seems, with Jeff Sullivan examined at FanGraphs, and opined, "That makes him a usable starter on a bad team, which makes him a modestly appealing trade candidate. There’s actually a reason for a team to want Bud Norris."
Norris last started on Sunday, putting him in line to fill in on Friday for what would have been Clayton Kershaw's start.
Norris is making $2.5 million this season, putting the Dodgers on the hook for approximately $1,284,153 for the rest of the season. He will be a free agent after the season.
Toscano isn't on the 40-man roster but was signed out of Cuba in 2015 by the Braves. The 27-year-old outfielder hit just .226/.310/.271 in 58 games with Double-A Mississippi this season.
Per Cot's Contracts, Toscano is under contract through 2018 plus a club option for 2019. Toscano has roughly $513,661 remaining in 2016, then will receive $1.3 million in 2017 and $1.5 million in 2018. His club option in 2019 is worth $1.7 million, with a $200,000 buyout.
To make room for Norris on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers designated pitcher Ian Thomas for assignment. Thomas has been on the disabled list in Triple-A with a shoulder issue and hasn't pitched since May 12.