The Astros know that there's not a whole lot of quality starting pitching available on the trade market this year and they have an asking price to reflect it for their top hurler. To part with righty Bud Norris, rival GMs tell Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that the Astros are asking for two top prospects in return.
Heyman sees Norris as fitting somewhere in "the upper echelon" of starting pitchers in this year's market, which he says also includes Matt Garza and Yovani Gallardo. "Garza is the biggest immediate impact guy and Norris is the best long value guy,'' a GM tells Heyman. With a reasonable salary – just $3MM this season – and an additional two years of team control, Norris could be an attractive option to contenders, particularly if top targets such as Cliff Lee remain unavailable.
In an recent column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted that the Padres would prefer a pitcher whom they can control beyond 2013 if they make a trade, and Norris certainly fits that bill. Norris, 28, has pitched to a 3.63 ERA in 114 innings this year, striking out 6.4 K/9 and walking 2.8 BB/9.
As Astros people note, that low salary and the team's sub-$30MM payroll mean there's no need for them to trade the righty, potentially giving them extra leverage in negotiations. However, some believe that Norris will be the next starter to be traded. There's plenty of trade talk around Norris and Houston may not be ready to contend for the next several years.