The Padres acquired righty James Norwood from the Cubs in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Dauris Valdez. Norwood has been optioned to San Diego’s alternate training site, and righty Javy Guerra has been moved to the 60-day injured list to create roster space.
Norwood was designated for assignment by Chicago. Debuting in 2018, he has appeared in each of the last three MLB seasons, amassing a 4.50 ERA over 22 total innings (with 21 strikeouts and 14 walks) for the Cubs. Shoulder problems limited him to just three games and 1 2/3 frame of work in 2020. The hard-throwing Norwood has posted some pretty solid strikeout totals in the minors, though control has been an increasing issue as he has worked his way up the minor league ladder — Norwood had an unimpressive 13.65% walk rate over 75 1/3 career innings at Triple-A.
The trade is, in essence, a swap of power arms who have had some trouble getting the ball over the plate. Like Norwood, Valdez has also had some control problems while moving up to higher levels of the minor leagues, posting a below-average 11.77% walk rate over 108 2/3 innings at the high-A and Double-A levels in 2018-19. This said, there’s still plenty of potential for the 25-year-old, who was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 25 prospect in San Diego’s farm system. Valdez has a 65-grade fastball that “routinely hits triple-digits” according to Pipeline’s scouting report, and he also possesses a plus slider and a solid changeup as a third pitch.