The Washigton Wild Things acquired two players today to complete a previous trade with Trois-Rivières that sent outfielder Steve Brown to the Aigles in late January for two players to be named. Those two have been named. Washington has received pitcher Kevin McNorton and infielder/catcher Joe DeLuca to complete the trade, the team announced.
McNorton, a right-handed pitcher, is familiar with the Frontier League, having spent parts of four seasons (2014-17) with the Joliet Slammers before continuing his career in the Can-Am League with Trois-Rivières. He pitched in part of the 2017 season with the Aigles and played with the team from 2018-19.
The former Tampa Spartan standout comes to Washington sporting a career earned run average of 3.78 in 142 games (43 starts).
DeLuca began his professional career with Fargo-Moorhead of the American Association before splitting time there and in Evansville in 2018. The College of St. Rose product played with the Aigles in 2019 before playing in the pod out in the New York-New Jersey area with the Jersey Wise Guys this past summer.
“Kevin’s acquisition provides us even more depth in our efforts to reinforce our rotation. Beyond an All-Star resume, he provides meaningful experience and a competitiveness I remember well from his Joliet days,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “Over six years of his pro career, Kevin has impressively posted a winning record in each season, something I believe is a result of his makeup.”
On McNorton, manager Tom Vaeth added: “Kevin gives us another quality arm to strengthen our pitching staff. He’s a proven inning eater that likes to work deep into games… He’s a bulldog who thrives on competing every time he takes the mound. He should be a great compliment to what we already have in our starting rotation.”
McNorton’s reaction to the deal was mixed. He had just found out, according to him, that there would no longer be an Aigles’ season, which the league announced Saturday night.
“I was pretty bummed and sad for myself and future and past teammates and my friends who now have to wait another year until baseball is back,” said McNorton. “Then I was told myself that I would be traded to Washington. I am super excited to join the Wild Things. I am so grateful for the opportunity and for the manager and office’s quick trigger to make the most out of this situation.”
McNorton was a member of the 2015 West Division All Star team while with Joliet, a season in which he posted an 8-2 record with a 2.09 ERA in 37 games (one start). McNorton started every game he appeared in during 2019 and all but one in 2018 with the Aigles. He won 18 games in those two seasons.
“I’ve been in the gym like I always do prior to season. When the 2020 season was cancelled I decided I wouldn’t trek north to one of the sanctuary stadium leagues,” said McNorton. “I joined a competitive mens league team in Birmingham. So I was able to pitch quite a bit and also hit. Also, I taught baseball lessons which helped me stay in tune with the game and stay in shape.”
For fans who don’t know of or remember his time in Joliet, McNorton said he is a pitcher that is going to pound the zone and let his defense play.
“I want the ball every chance that I can have it and give my team a chance to win. I am a big advocate for being a good teammate and having fun,” he added. “I love to play this game and am so thankful for the ability to still be able to do it, so I try to make the most out of it every day!”
DeLuca hit .318 in 2017 at St. Rose with three home runs and 18 RBI. He sports a .215/.324/.351 career slash line at the dish.
“Joe is a versatile defender who we saw a bunch with Evansville in prior seasons,” said Buccilli. “We look to incorporate him in our group and see which role provides the best opportunity. Entering his fourth season professionally there will be a focus on his consistency moving forward.”
The Wild Things will open the season May 27 in Florence, against the Y’alls with the updated schedule. You can find the full update at washingtonwildthings.com.
ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS
The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League, partner league of Major League Baseball, that plays in Washington, PA. Since their inception in 2002, the Wild Things have won six division titles and earned numerous playoff appearances. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media platforms and website, washingtonwildthings.com. For other inquiries, call the front office at 724-250-9555.