It will be interesting to hear some of the comments from players about our new infielder/pinch-hitter. Apparently, this is the guy we’ve been looking for since spring training -- you know, the pinch hitter who is supposed to strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. While I don’t know if any pinch hitter would really fit that mold, I’m fairly certain that Greg Norton does not.
Yes, he’s got some pop. Yes, he’s a veteran at this point in his career. Yes, his middle name is Blakemoor.
At 36 Norton is likely on the downside of his career, and he’s never really been used as a primary pinch-hitter. Even this year he’s only had one pinch-hit appearance. But the Braves must see something in Norton that leads them to believe that he will be a good (or better) major league pinch-hitter. He is a career .235 (68-for-289) pinch hitter -- a bit lower than his overall career average of .253 -- so I kind of have to continue to wonder what makes the Braves think Blakemoor is any better than Wes Helms or Rob Mackowiak or Jayson Werth -- all similar comps by age to Gregory.
They have to hope that Norton buys into being used mainly as a pinch hitter (again, something that he’s never exclusively been in his career). They also have to hope that he can make that adjustment, and that his swing is one geared towards being able to come off the bench.
Heck, depending on what we eventually give up, this may just be one of those, "we’re taking a flyer on him" trades. I have added confidence because we acquired him from