The Houston Astros just shipped Jed Lowrie off to the Oakland Athletics for power-hitting first baseman Chris Carter and pitching prospect Brad Peacock, among others. Now, it appears as if the Astros might be shopping Bud Norris around in the hopes of obtaining even more prospects.
It is no secret the Astros have all but waved the white flag for this season and possibly the next. Norris, the Astros potential Opening Day starter, is currently the team’s highest paid player, due to make $3 million this season. However, it looks like Carlos Pena, signed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal, will take over that honor before Opening Day.
Norris, 28 on March 2, is 28-37 in four years with the Astros, posting a 4.42 ERA and 1.40 WHIP across 98 games, 97 of them starts. Those numbers are hardly ace-like, but for a competitive team, Norris might be a nice option for the back of the rotation or a middle of the rotation option for a team with an outside shot of competing.
Norris isn’t going to develop into an ace, but he could offer a team a somewhat cheap, back of the rotation arm that will eat innings. The Colorado Rockies are in desperate need of pitching. The Pittsburgh Pirates are also constantly searching for pitching and are rumored to be pursuing Jonathan Sanchez for added depth.
The Astros might also decide to hold on to Norris until it is closer to the trade deadline and try to get a better package in return. However, if Norris gets hurt, the entire plan could backfire, so it would make sense for Norris to be shopped now.
I would be shocked if they get a package similar to what they got for Lowrie. There is no way a team would give up their number five and eleven prospects for a pitcher who might never be better than a number four starter. Then again, you never know.