Newly acquired Bud Norris will have a short travel-path to his new team, as he just has to leave the visiting Houston dugout tonight; and find the O’s dugout across the field.
Baltimore has acquired the 28 year-old RHP to bolster their rotation down the stretch. With Chen, Gonzalez, Tillman, and Feldman secure in the rotation, Norris has been obtained to improve upon Jason Hammel. In exchange for Norris, LJ Hoes is going back to the Astros, with another to-be-determined piece. (As reported by Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports.)
EDIT: Dan Connolly from The Baltimore Sun has announced it will be Hoes, Josh Hader, and the O’s 2014 Comp pick.
EDIT 2: Danny Knober from CBS Sports has announced complications with Hader’s medicals, raising the possibility that Hader could be replaced in the deal.
(You can discuss this article on the BSL Board here.)
Hammel 2013: 7-8, 5.20 era, 4.66 xFIP, 123 ip, 140 hits, 20 hr’s, 46 bb’s, 85 k’s, .827 OPS against, 40.4 GB%
Norris 2013: 6-9, 3.93 era, 4.49 xFIP, 126 ip, 135 hits, 11 hr’s, 43 bb’s, 90 k’s, .754 OPS against, 39.3 GB%.
Norris, who is making $3M here in ’13, is arbitration eligible over the next two years. While the arbitration price will be something watch, the additional years of control are attractive. Also attractive is that Norris has been durable, making a total of 87 starts the past three years entering ’13, and 21 so far this year.
While Norris’ HR/9, and BB% have decreased in ’13 over ’12, so has his K% (22.5 to 16.6).
As mentioned above, in-exchange for Norris, the O’s have traded Hoes, and Hader.
In Tucker Blair’s Midseason Top 30 Prospect List, Blair had Hoes as the O’s 9th rated prospect, and Hader came in at number 11.
Blair’s comments on Hoes:
Ceiling: Average Corner Outfielder
Likely: Platoon Player, Reserve Outfielder
Floor: Reserve Outfielder
Previous Ranking: 5
Report: “Best plate approach and discipline in the Orioles minor league system. Advanced for his age, and proving that it is no fluke at the AAA level. Ability to lay off borderline pitches in tough counts, able to recognize and identify late breaking secondary pitches. Swing is compact, ability to pull hands in and make solid contact, ability to extend hands and slap ball opposite field. Plus contact. Short load saps some power, but there is surprising pop in the bat. Could be a 10 home run guy, and hit a lot of doubles. Athletic player, but does not have the instincts or agility to play anywhere besides corner outfield. Arm is above average. Could be an average corner outfield at the MLB level that gets on base and provides some solid depth to a team.”
Blair’s comments on Hader:
Ceiling: Mid Rotation Starter
Likely: LOOGY, Long Reliever
Previous Ranking: N/A
Report: “Hader has taken a large jump in the system since being drafted last season. He is a solid pitcher who still needs to work on mechanical issues such as repeating his delivery. The most important thing for Hader this season was for him to build up innings in his arm. Stamina is still a concern, and he has a tall and lanky frame that will likely fill out more down the road. Scouts have expressed concerns to me over his arm slot, but it has worked before for guys such as Chris Sale.”
FB: 89-92 mph and touches 93 on occasion. Hides it well, ball is lively out of his arm slot. When he loses stamina, drops to 87-90 mph.
CH: 79-83 mph with decent depth, although could be refined more. Has plenty of room for growth down the line.
SL: 73-77 mph with sweeping action. Looks to throw two variants, one more like a power curve. Good bite against LHB. Sometimes it comes off too flat. Command needs refinement.
Norris is not the caliber of pitcher where he would definitively start over Chen / Gonzalez / or Tillman in any Playoff series; he is potentially enough of any upgrade over what Hammel has provided this year to increase the O’s odds of again reaching the Post-season.
The most attractive aspect in my eyes of this trade, is that Norris is now under O’s team control for the next two years.