Palmateer: The season’s craziest second-half split

From Dustin Palmateer at Baseball Prospectus on December 9, 2015:

The 2014 San Diego Padres featured one of baseball’s most effective catching tandems, as Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera combined to smash 26 home runs and post best-in-league pitch framing numbers. A.J. Preller didn’t much care. In his first offseason as general manager, Preller fleshed out years’ worth of pent-up trade ideas in a three-day span, and both of his catchers were involved: Grandal went to L.A. as the centerpiece of the Matt Kemp trade, Rivera to Tampa Bay as part of a three-teamer that returned Wil Myers.

Preller’s solution to the sudden hole created at catcher was, not surprisingly, another trade; he sent right hander Jesse Hahn to Oakland for Derek Norris, a 26-year-old backstop better known for his promising bat than his glovework.

Early in 2015, Preller’s catcher upheaval was working—part of it, anyway. Norris’ offense sparked the Padres in April, as he slashed .313/.329/.463 with nine doubles. He even quietly solved the throwing issues that had plagued him the previous season, the same ones that were loudly exploited by the Royals in the Wild Card game. However, Norris’ pitch framing was even worse than advertised; through May, according to our numbers at Baseball Prospectus, he cost the Padres nearly 25 strikes and was clearly better than only one catcher in baseball, Carlos Ruiz.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: December 9, 2015. Last Updated: December 9, 2015.