As the trade deadline approaches, the logical thought is that the Minnesota Twins will be sellers; but that may not be the case. According to ESPN 1500 Darren Wolfson, who talked with Twins’ vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff, the Twins could still add a player at the trade deadline that could help the team in the future and is controllable beyond 2013. Radcliff wouldn’t comment on specific names, but a league source informed Wolfson that the Twins are interested in Houston Astros’ right-hander Bud Norris.
Norris’ name has been connected to many teams who are looking to add a starting pitcher at the trade deadline due to the fact that the Astros are committed to the future and are very willing to trade current assets for additional talented prospects. The Twins, one of the many teams looking to add starting pitching depth, would be a good fit for Norris, but the price needed to acquire Norris may be too steep for the Twins’ liking. Although the Twins have one of the top farm systems in all of baseball, they may be unwilling to move some of their top prospects in order to acquire Norris and rightfully so. Norris could help the Twins out and he would be an upgrade over all of their current options, but he certainly isn’t the type of transformational pitcher that is worth unloading some of an organization’s top prospects for.
Norris will likely be dealt to a team operating with a “win-now” mentality who is looking for that one missing piece that could help them win a World Series. In that case, the organization may be willing to give up a highly ranked prospect in order to increase their chances at winning a championship; the Twins are not close to winning a World Series and acquiring Norris would not change that. Norris, 28, is a career 34-46 pitcher with a 4.33 ERA, 1.406 WHIP, 8.4 SO/9, 2.29 SO/BB and owns a WAR of 4.1; however in 2013, Norris is 6-9 with a 3.91 ERA in 20 starts over 119.2 innings.
Although Norris is a very intriguing option for the Twins to add and he certainly would be a top-of-the-rotation starter in the Twins’ rotation, he isn’t worth giving up the type of prospects the Astros are looking for in return. Norris is slated to make $3 million this season and isn’t arbitration eligible until next season. The first year Norris is eligible for free-agency isn’t until 2016, so he would be a valuable short and long-term asset for a team, like the Twins, who is in need of talented pitching. However, the likelihood of the Twins acquiring Norris is very slim due to the fact that another team will likely overspend to acquire him; but the fact that the Twins are open to the idea of acquiring big-league ready talent at the deadline speaks volumes of where the team’s mindset is.
The Twins’ may not be in position to win in 2013, but they won’t let that stand in their way of improving their team whether it is for the future or the present. One thing is clear: this will be one interesting trading deadline and the Twins are poised to be major players in it.