Last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Wandy Rodriguez from the then divisional rival, Houston Astros, in exchange for OF Robbie Grossman and SPs Colton Cain and Rudy Owens. This season, the Pirates starting rotation has been decimated by injuries. Rodriguez, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Jeanmar Gomez and Kyle McPherson have all seen time on the DL. However, the Pirates are still 37-26, which is good for second place in the NL Central and tied for first among the NL wild card standings. Could they be in the market for another pitching acquisition?
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Pirates will be in the market for a pitcher, specifically Bud Norris. Cafardo also notes that talent evaluators around the league believe that Norris would pitch better for a winning team due to his ultra competitive nature. For a young team like the Pirates, with a rich farm system, it’s a gamble they will likely be willing to take. Even with the injuries to their rotation, the Pirates still rank first in the league in BAA with a .223 mark and third in ERA with a 3.24. Their offense has struggled for much of the season, and some would say that’s the area the Pirates need to improve on.
Astros fans can forget about a reunion with local product, Jameson Taillon, or acquiring Gerrit Cole in a potential deal for Norris. The Pirates’ farm system is rich with pitching prospects and could easily afford to sacrifice some of their mid level prospects in a potential deal for Norris, but the Astros are also rich with pitching prospects at almost every level in their system. One name to keep an eye on would be Josh Bell. Bell is a Texas native who had a very firm commitment to the University of Texas before the Pirates selected him in the second round of the 2011 MLB Draft.
This is just the first of many rumors surely to involve Bud Norris. With over a month to go before the trading deadline, he will have plenty of time to improve on an already good start to the season. There will be several suitors for his services, and the Pirates figure to be one of them.