Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Norris still a trade piece?
By Doug Mittler and Jason A. Churchill
After trading shortstop Jed Lowrie and his $2.4 million salary on Monday, the Houston Astros might now be looking to deal their highest-paid player.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported earlier this month that righthander Bud Norris, on the books to make $3 million, is “available and drawing interest.” Any deal would continue the Astros’ plan of stockpiling talent for future seasons.
The 27-year-old Norris was 7-13 with a 4.65 ERA last season following a strong start, but is still a viable trade chip since he is under club control through 2015. Rosenthal reports the Orioles, Padres and Cardinals expressed varying levels of interest in Norris at the winter meetings. The Cardinals’ interest could pick up following Tuesday’s news that ace Chris Carpenter is likely to miss the rest of the season with a nerve injury.
The Astros will have at least eight pitchers competing for a spot in the rotation and are in line for another 100-loss season, so there is no pressing need to keep Norris around beyond potentially breaking the losses record.
It's been more than two weeks since Rosenthal's report and we've heard nothing further on the matter, but perhaps once Kyle Lose signs the Astros' leverage with Norris will soar. Norris could also be among the top targets for clubs that suffer injuries to the rotation in March.