NEW PHILS RELIEVER JAMES NORWOOD: IT’S MAJORS OR BUST!

By Sam Bush

The Phillies have acquired right-hander James Norwood from the Padres for minor league infielder Kervin Pichardo and cash,

San Diego had designated Norwood for assignment earlier this week.

Norwood, 28, tossed five scoreless innings of relief for the Pads last season and has 27 total innings of Major League work dating to his 2018 debut with the Cubs. He’s logged a 3.67 ERA, albeit with a below-average 18.5% strikeout rate and a bloated 13.1% walk rate.

Norwood has a decent overall track record in Triple-A, where he’s pitched to a 4.05 ERA in parts of three seasons. He whiffed 37.2% of his opponents in 44 2/3 Triple-A frames this past season, which surely held some appeal to the Phils.

Norwood is out of minor league options, meaning he’ll need to either break camp with the Phils or be designated for assignment once again. Given that Philadelphia sent a minor leaguer to the Padres, as opposed to a simple cash transaction or waiver claim, it would seem Norwood has a decent shot of being included in Philadelphia’s Opening Day relief corps.

As for the 20-year-old Pichardo, he’s a Bronx native who joined the Phillies in June 2019 as an undrafted free agent. He spent most of his time at shortstop after signing in ’19 but played more third base in 2021. Pichardo logged just 35 total games across three levels last year and batted .247/.476/.466 with two homers, six doubles, two triples, two steals and a 32-to-28 K/BB ratio in 105 plate appearances.

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