As the trade deadline draws closer, trade rumors start to heat up. The buyers and sellers are starting to become more well known as the season gets into the dog days of summer, the picture may not be completely clear yet, but it’s starting to take shape, and one team that’s certain to be selling this summer is the Houston Astros.
The best target available from Houston right now is right-handed starting pitcher Bud Norris. Norris is making a modest salary of $3 million ($1 million after the deadline), and he becomes a free agent in 2016. He’s 5-7 on the year, but his ERA is 3.64, and his peripherals are decent. The Astros are already out of contention, so they should be willing to deal Norris away for the right price.
The Pirates philosophy coming into this season seemed to be that you can never have too many arms, and so far they’ve been correct. A.J. Burnett is on the DL, along with Wandy Rodriguez. The Jonathan Sanchez experiment was a nightmare. James McDonald appears to have completely lost his ability to pitch (even to minor league hitters), whether due to mental problems, injuries or whatever it might be.
They had tons of depth both for the bullpen and starting pitching between the big league club and Indianapolis, but they can never have too much of it if they want to make a run at the playoffs coming down the stretch, even with the pleasant surprise of Jeff Locke, and the recent calling up of Gerrit Cole.
The price for Norris might end up running somewhat high. The starting pitching market this year isn’t exactly loaded, which will drive up the cost of acquiring a guy like Norris at the deadline. The question is what the market price for a player like Norris would be, and if the Pirates would be willing to pay that. Norris should not be at the top of the Pirates trade targets list, but if the opportunity presents itself for the right price, they ought to pull the trigger and make the deal.