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Blue Jays sign Bud Norris, presumably to help bully rookies

Soon after the Phillies inked Bryce Harper to a mammoth 500-year contract worth a bazillion dollars, the Blue Jays countered by signing Bud Norris to a minor-league deal.

Norris, the starter-turned-reliever, spent last season as the St. Louis Cardinals’ closer. The soon-to-be 34-year-old picked up 28 saves in 64 appearances, posting a 3.59 ERA while striking out 10.5 and walking 3.3 batters per nine.

Those are pretty solid numbers, so this is a good pickup at a glance, right? Maaaaaaybe not. Norris was in the middle of a controversy last season when it was reported he “mercilessly riding” Cardinals’ rookie starter Jordan Hicks.

Per the report…

The 33-year-old Norris has been mercilessly riding 21-year old rookie Jordan Hicks since spring training, reminding him to be at meetings on time and publicly calling him out when he is lagging in any of the details a visitor might not notice, but other players do. Perhaps Hicks will one day appreciate the treatment?

“Probably not,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny admitted with a chuckle. “But Bud’s going to do continue to do what he thinks is right as a veteran, so you respect that.”

Hicks, the hardest throwing right-handed pitcher in baseball, isn’t a fan of the treatment. Asked if he thinks it will one day pay dividends in his career, he said, “I have no idea. No comment.”

Now, is this just Norris being tough-old-grizzled-veteran who knows the right way to play the game simply riding some entitled millennial who can’t stop sending pictures of his dick to girls on SnapChat before games rather than stretching properly and cleaning up the locker room like a good rookie should? Or is this actually an indication that Norris is a dickbag that hazes young players?

I mean, in the report, Mike Matheny pretty much just shook the whole thing off and didn’t seem to have an issue with it. Then again, Matheny got fired in the middle of July last season. Maybe that had something to do with it. This is also far from the only issue the Cardinals dealt with last season. 

I don’t know. Norris’ numbers are fine and depth is a good thing, but I really don’t like the idea of this kind of bully-youngsters-into-submission thing being a part of the team’s culture as young players break into the league. It’s one thing to tell rookies to work hard, or whatever, but it’s another to mercilessly ride them, as the report suggested.

Theres, uh, also this thing I was just made aware of on Twitter…

It’s somewhat of a curious decision for an organization that has preached the importance of character all off-season.