The Padres traded one of their few remaining veterans Friday, sending catcher Derek Norris to the Washington Nationals for pitching prospect Pedro Avila.
Norris, 27, is coming off the worst season of his five-year career. The one-time All-Star hit just .186 with 14 home runs in 125 games. He made $2.925 million in 2016 and is arbitration-eligible for a second time.
Acquired from Oakland before the 2015 season, Norris hit .250 with 14 home runs in his Padres debut. He will reunite with a Nationals organization that drafted him in 2007 before dealing him to the Athletics in 2011.
Norris’ departure leaves little doubt that Austin Hedges, a defensively gifted 24-year-old, will be the Padres’ primary catcher in 2017.
Avila, 19, was the Nationals’ No. 23 prospect, according to MLB.com. The 5-foot-11 right-hander spent 2016 with Single-A Hagerstown, going 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA. In 20 starts spanning 93 innings, he recorded 92 strikeouts against 38 walks.
The Venezuela native originally signed with the Nationals in 2014 as an international free agent.