There is nothing like waiting to the last minute.
With just under half an hour left until the deadline hit, reports came rushing in that Bud Norris had been dealt by the Houston Astros to the dugout just across the diamond, that belonging to the Baltimore Orioles.
L.J. Hoes and Josh Hader were the immediate returns for the Astros.
Hoes will most likely replace the spot vacated by the Justin Maxwell trade to the Kansas City Royals, yet again putting on hold the long-awaited arrival of George Springer. Offensively, Hoes has average tools; it’s his plate discipline and versatility that make him appealing. He will boast a high OBP and with more walks than strikeouts, he could have some use to a strikeout-happy team like the Astros.
But the Astros were far from needing another outfielder. A stacked farm system with a fresh batch of talent from the recent draft left the Astros in great standing for the future.
Hader is only 19 years old and adds yet another arm to a jam-packed Astros farm. His 2.45 ERA stands out, as well as his 10.1 strikeouts per inning. Hader is the higher ranked prospect of the two, ranking as the Orioles’ No. 4 prospect to Hoes’ No. 7 prior to being dealt.
The Astros also received a competitive balance draft pick, allowing GM Jeff Luhnow to exercise his own will on who they get in return.
It was a trade that really did not need to happen. If Erik Bedard is not dealt and is the Astros’ answer to the vacated ace spot, it will be a major downgrade. Norris could have been a solid piece to hold onto going into the future that the Astros have been building towards.
Luhnow had maintained a firm stance of requiring two top prospects for Norris, and what he got back does not fit that profile. Hoes looks to be average at best and there is already medical concern over Hader’s mechanics.
It appears as though Luhnow ended up bending after all.