Bud Norris Rumors
12:04pm: About a half-dozen teams have inquired on Norris but Houston has yet to engage in serious talks, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
THURSDAY, 9:10am: Astros GM Jeff Luhnow suggested a trade involving Norris or Harrell doesn't seem likely, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. "I've always maintained that there's no such thing as an untouchable, but at the same time, Harrell and Norris are such an important part of this club right now it would take a significant offer to even consider something," Luhnow said.
WEDNESDAY: The Astros are still telling teams that they'll listen on anyone if they get two or more players back in a deal, rival clubs tell Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Lots of scouts are eyeing right-hander Lucas Harrell in particular.
Recently, we learned that the Cardinals have interest in Harrell and fellow hurler Bud Norris. Last season was Harrell's first full big league season and the 27-year-old looked strong as he posted a 3.76 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 32 starts.
In addition to "asking about" available shortstops, the Cardinals are "interested in Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris of [the] Astros," reports MLB Network's Peter Gammons (on Twitter). While the Cards' interest in help up the middle is unsurprising (in spite of GM John Mozeliak's recent statements), St. Louis was not expected to be in on starting pitching.
As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith detailed at the start of the offseason, the Cardinals already "feature an effective starting rotation with a combination of established veterans and powerful young arms." And as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently explained, the team was thought at this point to be narrowing its choice between Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller for the team's fifth starter spot. Of course, the Cardinals have already allowed Kyle Lohse to test the free agent waters for quite some time after the veteran turned down his qualifying offer.
Meanwhile, Harrell and Norris (both righties) are coming off of solid, if unspectacular, 2012 campaigns. Harrell, 27, threw 193 2/3 innings of 3.76 ERA baseball in his first full big league season. Norris, in turn, is entering his age 28 season after posting a 4.65 ERA over 168 1/3 innings last year, and features a longer history of performance at the highest level. Certainly, St. Louis is well-positioned to add either pitcher if it so chooses, as it possesses the kind of farm depth that would appeal to an Astros team that has been aggressively cutting payroll and adding young, unproven talent.
The Mariners dominated headlines around baseball today, agreeing to an extension with Felix Hernandez, agreeing to terms with Joe Saunders, finalizing a one-year deal with Kelly Shoppach and designating Shawn Kelley for assignment. While the bulk of the news from the AL West came from Seattle, here are some more items from around the division...
- In an interview on the MLB Network (video link), Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said he was looking forward to having Bud Norris in the rotation next season and that he wasn't currently talking to anyone about trading the right-hander. Luhnow noted, however, that the Astros' recent history has shown "we're willing to talk to any club about any player if we feel the deal furthers our strategy to develop the best young talent in baseball....We'll continue to look at all options." FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported on Tuesday that Norris was available and that the Cardinals, Padres and Orioles were all interested in Norris during the Winter Meetings.
- Speaking of Houston's recent moves, Luhnow's trades as Astros general manager are recapped by MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
- "Our currency is not cash. Our currency is young players," Athletics GM Billy Beane tells CBS Sports' Danny Knobler. While the A's won't see a major payroll increase in 2013, the team has been dealing young talent in exchange for more expensive veterans this offseason since Oakland feels it can contend next season.
- The topic of a Jurickson Profar-for-David Price deal was recently posed to ESPN's Keith Law during a radio appearance, and ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett goes further in-depth in analyzing the specifics of such a trade between the Rangers and Rays. Durrett would make the trade since it would give the Rangers a proven ace, while Law wouldn't make the deal one-for-one since Texas would be giving up too many years of team control. Law, however, doesn't think Tampa Bay would consider such an offer anyway since, "it would be very hard for the Rays to justify a deal like that with the perceived value of Price."
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow remains confident the organization has taken the right steps to field a competitive team in the near future even with payroll that may fall short of $25MM, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. "I think people are focusing on what the Major League payroll is, and I think the reality is we're making a huge investment in our people," Luhnow said. "We're not going to do something to improve a few games in 2013 that comes at the expense of our ability to compete over the long haul."
Let's take a look around the AL West to catch up on the latest news and headlines.
- The Astros may move another key player before the start of Spring Training as Bud Norris has been drawing attention and is available for the right package, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The 27-year-old right-hander is set to earn $3MM during the 2013 season, making him the highest paid player on the Astros roster.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels spoke with reporters for 40 minutes on Tuesday as he addressed the burning question of whether he did enough this offseason to keep Texas competitive in 2013, writes Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com. "What I'm excited about with this club is all the things we've talked about for years, we like the core of this team, recommitting ourselves to pitching, to the athletes, to giving our young guys a chance, to finding the right guys to fit the club, to finding the right veteran presence."
- Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt will be given every opportunity to make the big league club out of Spring Training for the Rangers, but look for Leury Garcia to compete for a spot as well, says Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News. Garcia, 21, has spent the majority of his career as a middle infielder but recently gained experience playing outfield in the Dominican Republic Winter League.
Dozens of players will agree to terms with their respective teams today and avoid arbitration. We'll have detailed posts on the top earners around MLB, and we'll track more modest agreements -- those worth less than $4MM -- right here. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will have all of the details.
Teams had until 12pm CDT today to exchange filing numbers with their arbitration eligible players. Generally speaking the deadline creates lots of discussion and leads to early deals. Plus, for ‘file and trial’ teams this marks the final chance for negotiations in advance of a hearing. Here are the latest agreements from around MLB...
- The Padres announced that they have avoided arbitration with Edinson Volquez. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- The Red Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Andrew Bailey ($4.1MM), Daniel Bard ($1.8625MM), Andrew Miller ($1.475MM), and Franklin Morales ($1.4875MM). Terms courtesy of WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arb with a $1.7MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Alfredo Aceves, agreeing to a deal worth $2.65MM plus incentives, according to O'Connell Sports Management, Aceves' agency (on Twitter via Jon Heyman).
- The Cubs avoided arbitration with James Russell and Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Samardzija obtains $2.64MM while Russell gets $1.075MM, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Diamondbacks announced that they avoided arbitration with Chris Johnson ($2.2875MM). The team also avoided arbitration with Brad Ziegler ($3.15MM), agreeing to a one-year deal, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). Terms courtesy of Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
- The Nationals announced that they agreed to terms with Tyler Clippard, avoiding arbitration (via Amanda Comak on Twitter). The Nationals avoided arbitration with Ian Desmond, agreeing to a one-year, $3.8MM deal, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports (on Twitter). The Nationals also avoided arb with Roger Bernadina according to the outfielder's agent, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Nationals and Ross Detwiler agreed to a one-year, $2.3375MM contract, according to CAA (via Twitter).
- Brennan Boesch and Phil Coke avoided arbitration, agreeing to one-year deals with the Tigers, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Boesch will earn $2.3MM while Coke will earn $1.85MM. The Tigers also avoided arbitration with Alex Avila, agreeing to a one-year, $2.95MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). Austin Jackson agreed to a deal worth $3.5MM for 2013, Heyman reports. Doug Fister obtained a one-year, $4MM deal from Detroit, Heyman reports.
- The Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ronald Belisario agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports (on Twitter).
- The Mariners announced that they avoided arbitration with Kendrys Morales and Brendan Ryan on one-year agreements for 2013. Morales will obtain $5.25MM plus performance bonuses, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ryan obtained $3.25MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- The Rockies avoided arb with Tyler Colvin, agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Colvin will earn $2.275MM, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Twitter).
- The Braves avoided arbitration with Cristhian Martinez, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Braves avoided arb with Kris Medlen, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (on Twitter). Medlen will earn $2.6MM in 2013. They also avoided arb with Jason Heyward, agreeing to a one-year, $3.65MM deal, Bowman reports (onTwitter). The Braves agreed with another young player, avoiding arb with Jonny Venters, O'Brien reports (on Twitter). It's a $1.625MM deal. Earlier today the Braves agreed to a one-year deal with Eric O'Flaherty, avoiding arbitration, Bowman reported (on Twitter). He'll earn $4.32MM plus awards bonuses, Bowman adds.
- The Athletics announced they avoided arb with Jerry Blevins and Brandon Moss, agreeing to one-year deals for 2013.
- The Cardinals avoided arb with Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica, B.J. Rains of FOX Sports MidWest reports (on Twitter).
- The Indians announced that they avoided arb with Matt Albers and Justin Masterson. Albers will earn $1.75MM in 2013, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter). Masterson will earn $5.6875MM according to Bastian (on Twitter). The Indians and Joe Smith avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.15MM deal, Bastian reported earlier today (on Twitter). The Indians also avoided arbitration with Lou Marson, Bastian reports (Twitter links). The catcher will earn $1MM on a one-year deal in 2013.
- The Astros avoided arb with Wesley Wright, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (on Twitter). Wright will earn $1.025MM, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Earlier today the Astros and Bud Norris avoided arb with a one-year, $3MM deal, McTaggart reports (on Twitter). The Astros and Jed Lowrie avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.4MM deal with awards bonuses, according to his representatives at CAA Baseball (on Twitter).
- The White Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Alejandro De Aza, agreeing to a $2.075MM deal for 2013. The White Sox also avoided arb with Gordon Beckham, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.925MM for 2013, MLBTR has learned.
- The Orioles announced that they avoided arb with Chris Davis and Brian Matusz (Twitter link). Matusz gets a base salary of $1.6MM while Davis gets $3.3MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links). The Orioles also avoided arbitration with Troy Patton. The sides agreed to a one-year, $815K deal, his agency, CAA Sports, announced on Twitter.
- The Brewers avoided arb with right-hander Marco Estrada and reliever Burke Badenhop, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Estrada will earn $1.955MM while Badenhop will earn $1.55MM, Haudricourt reports.
- The Rays avoided arbitration with Matthew Joyce and Ryan Roberts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Joyce will earn $2.45MM and Roberts will earn $2.95MM plus incentives, the Rays announced. The Rays also avoided arbitration with Sam Fuld, agreeing to a one-year, $725K deal, Topkin reported (on Twitter). Earlier today the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeff Niemann. The sides agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Hochevar, agreeing to a one-year deal for 2013. Hochevar will earn $4.56MM plus performance bonuses, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter).
- The Yankees avoided arb with Boone Logan, agreeing to a one-year, $3.15MM deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Padres avoided arb with John Baker, agreeing to a $930K deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Twins and Brian Duensing avoided arb with a $1.3MM deal for 2013 (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Marlins avoided arbitration with Ryan Webb, agreeing to a $975K deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays announced that they avoided arbitration with Emilio Bonifacio by agreeing to a one-year, $2.6MM deal. The Blue Jays also announced that they avoided arbitration with J.A. Happ, agreeing to a one-year, $3.7MM deal for 2013.
- The Angels and Tommy Hanson avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.725MM deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.
- The Giants avoided arb with Gregor Blanco, agreeing to a one-year, $1.35MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Phillies announced that they avoided arbitration with Antonio Bastardo with a $1.4MM contract for 2013.
- Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have reached agreement on a one-year, $1.75MM deal plus bonuses to avoid arbitration, according to the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter).
The latest from Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (links go to Twitter)...
- There’s no word from Roy Oswalt on whether he’ll pitch in 2013, Heyman reports.
- The Astros would have to be overwhelmed to trade Jed Lowrie, according to Heyman. However, the Astros have talked to teams such as the Cardinals and Rangers about possible deals involving Bud Norris. Norris, 27, goes to arbitration for the first time this offseason following a 2012 campaign in which he posted a 4.65 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 168 1/3 innings. Even after a mixed platform season, Norris will do reasonably well in arbitration thanks to his career total of 563 2/3 innings. MLBTR projects a salary of $2.9MM.
- The Tigers had almost a dozen calls about Rick Porcello within a few hours of their agreement with right-hander Anibal Sanchez, Knobler reports. The Tigers are expected to trade Porcello, who’s second time arbitration eligible with a projected salary of $4.7MM. The Cubs called, but there's no match, Knobler adds.
- The Twins aren't done adding pitching, Heyman reports.
Here's the latest from the American League's newest team, the Houston Astros...
- Lance Berkman remains atop the team's DH wishlist according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). There are still issues to be resolved before a reunion takes place.
- Crasnick notes that if the Astros can't bring Berkman back, they're likely to seek a late-20s player who's been blocked and needs an opportunity to serve as DH (Twitter links). They don't have interest in players like Luke Scott, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Jason Giambi, and Travis Hafner.
- A few teams are considering right-hander Bud Norris as a back-end rotation option, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The 27-year-old pitched to a 4.65 ERA in 168 1/3 innings last season and projects to earn $2.9MM through arbitration next winter.
Teams are calling the Astros on Bud Norris, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan, and Houston is listening. The Royals reached out to the Astros on Norris, and they've also got interest in free agent Shaun Marcum, writes Passan.
As a first time arbitration eligible player, the inconsistent Norris is under team control for three more years and projects to earn $2.9MM in 2013. Norris, 28 in March, posted a 4.65 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.23 HR/9, and 39.2% groundball rate in 168 1/3 innings this year, struggling mightily away from Minute Maid Park. The Astros have another asset in shortstop Jed Lowrie. GM Jeff Luhnow told reporters today he's getting offers on Lowrie, but a trade is unlikely.
The Royals added some decent-sized commitments for Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie this year, and they also tendered a contract to Luke Hochevar. Still, as GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star today about their search for a front-rotation starter, "We’re trying to upgrade with guys who will make a major difference to our team. How many opportunities do you get to do that? Not many."
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that Royals GM Dayton Moore is "feeling the heat," in the sense that many want the team to use their prospect base to acquire veterans who can help them win now like the Blue Jays did with their recent blockbuster. Here's more from Rosenthal on Kansas City...
- Even after acquiring Ervin Santana, the Royals can still fit a free agent like Jeremy Guthrie into their payroll on a back-loaded, multiyear contract.
- The Mariners covet Billy Butler and would conceivably part with young, high-end pitching to acquire him. Butler is under contract through 2014 with a club option for 2015, though the Royals are unsure if they have enough offense to move him right now.
- The Rays like top prospect Wil Myers, though the Royals are conflicted about moving him even for a pitcher like Jeremy Hellickson or Matt Moore.
- The Astros could be another trade partner for Kansas City since the price to acquire Bud Norris or Lucas Harrell would be lower than it would be for Hellickson or Moore. The impact would be less too, however.
- Moore is under contract through 2014 and does not appear to be in danger of losing his job, says Rosenthal.
31-year-old innings eater Joe Blanton has about $3MM left on his contract, and the Orioles are his most interested suitor. The latest:
- The Phillies are coming off the $3MM demands, tweets Connolly, and Blanton to the Orioles is picking up steam again.
- The Orioles would have to take on $3MM to acquire Blanton, and they aren't comfortable with that amount, so they're considering other options, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (all Twitter links). The Mariners want a lot in return for Jason Vargas, Connolly writes. Joe Saunders and Bud Norris are alternatives, but it's not clear whether they're fits for Baltimore. The Orioles don't want to give up much in a trade for starting pitching, Connolly writes.
- The Orioles tried to get Paul Maholm from the Cubs, Ghiroli reports. She confirms the team's interest in Saunders and Vargas. The Orioles are looking on the relief market as well, Ghiroli reports.
- The Orioles are turning their attention back toward other starters, tweets MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli.
- The Orioles were sent medicals on Blanton as well as two Phillies minor leaguers, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.
- Money continues to be a stumbling block on a Blanton deal, tweets MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. The chances of the deal dying have increased since yesterday.