As a rule, if you are bringing in a 35-year-old third baseman to take the place of your utility infielder, you’re doing something wrong. Norton isn’t a bad player, or wasn’t — he may be done — but he is a bad fit for a roster that already has Ruben Gotay and Brayan Pena and doesn’t have a backup shortstop. Norton is a good fill-in type player in a corner spot; his career batting average is just .253, but he’ll walk (.337 OBP) and has some power (.427 SLG).
Norton came up with the White Sox in 1996. Since the Sox had Robin Ventura, he wasn’t going to play a whole lot. He played mostly first base in 1998 — not well — and finally got a full-time job after Ventura left, in 1999. He was slightly below average, and basically lost his job to Herbert Perry, and has spent the rest of his career as a part-time player; the 132 games he played in 1999 are a career high, by 15. The Sox non-tendered him after 2000 and he spent three years in Colorado, backing up all four corner spots. He spent a terrible year in Detroit, then in 2006 had the best year of his career in Tampa. He didn’t play well in 2007 and the Rays cut him loose after the season; he landed in Seattle, where he went 7-16 with two doubles but got designated for assignment anyway.
Norton has played third base, first base, and both outfield corners; he played six games at shortstop in 1996, which I think we can safely ignore. He’s merely an okay third baseman. He’s nominally a switch-hitter, but has been terrible against lefties (.226 .309 .338). He is fundamentally similar to Gotay, albeit ten years older and not a second baseman. On the plus side, he has more power. Ideally, you probably don’t want two infielders on your bench with the same weaknesses, especially when neither of them can play shortstop. Had I mentioned that? Has been caught stealing more times than he’s been successful (15 of 33 in his career).