Fans at Milwaukee’s Miller Park may see a 1978 VW Bus in the parking lot soon, and if there’s a bearded guy sleeping in the back, it just might be their new left-handed pitcher.

Six years ago, the Tigers were suddenly big sellers at the trade deadline.  GM Dave Dombrowski made a flurry of deals, getting JaCoby Jones for Joakim Soria, and getting Michael Fulmer for Yoenis Cespedes. He also traded soon-to-be free agent David Price for a couple of promising left-handers, Daniel Norris, and Matthew Boyd.   Norris was the one Tiger fans hoped would turn into a dominant starting pitcher. Instead, it’s been Boyd who has excelled for the Tigers.   While Norris pitched well on occasion, he never pitched consistently for the Tigers.   Six years later, and Norris is the one about to be a free agent, and today, just before the trade deadline,  the Tigers traded him to a contender.   The Milwaukee Brewers are sending minor league right-hander Reese Olson, who heads for Grand Rapids to play for the Whitecaps.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris walks off the field following an inning against the Tampa Bay Rays April 20th. (Brian Blanco -
Getty Images)

Norris pitched well out of the bullpen last year and has been solid as of late.  He could be an asset for the Brewers, who are trying to hang on to a 7 game lead in the NL Central.

Norris was an interesting character, sporting a bushy beard, and living out of an old VW Camper-Van.   Former Tigers bench coach Lloyd McClendon talked about Norris on a recent Tiger broadcast and indicated that Norris sometimes overthinks things.   When he was asked if Norris could return to the starting rotation, McClendon said no.  He said he thought Norris pitched best when he didn’t have a lot of time to think about his next mound appearance.

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Olson, 21, has spent the entire 2021 season with Single-A Wisconsin, starting 14 games and posting a 5-4 record with a 4.30 ERA (69.0IP/33ER) and 79 strikeouts. He ranks third among qualified High-A Central pitchers with 10.30 strikeouts per nine innings, while he is tied for third in the league with 79 strikeouts, fourth with a .228 opponent batting average, sixth with 69.0 innings pitched, and eighth with a 1.35 WHIP.

Olson has put together some of his best performances of the season in recent games, allowing two runs-or-fewer in four-of-five starts in July, and compiling a 2-0 record with a 3.16 ERA (25.2IP/9ER) and 24 strikeouts.  Originally drafted by the Brewers in the 13th round of the 2008 MLB Draft, Olson has made 45 appearances, including 30 starts, in his Minor League career, posting a 9-13 record with a 4.55 ERA (174.0IP/88ER) and 169 strikeouts.

 

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