Bud Norris has been on the trading block for a while, but the recent Jed Lowrie trade put his writing on the wall faster than 12 toddlers with a 124 pack of Crayolas and a distracted babysitter. His potential suitors include the St. Louis Cardinals, the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres.
No names have officially been rumored, but a handful of names thrown around the internet. Some (Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, and probably Austin Hedges) are completely unrealistic, while others (Robbie Erlin and Greg Garcia) make more sense.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a baseball fan is the rampant speculation that comes along with it. A Bud Norris trade might not happen today, tomorrow, this week, or even this month (if at all), but that won't stop me from attempting to predict what kind of return Jeffrey Bowser Luhnow Jr. could get for the Astros' highest paid player.
(A brief disclaimer before I get into the potential trades: I think have a better chance hooking up with Oliva Munn than Jeff Luhnow does with the St. Louis Cardinals, anytime soon. The former VP of scouting and player development is less than two years removed from working in the Cardinals organization. Do you really think the Cardinals would feel comfortable trading prospects to the guy who built their entire farm system? That'd be like Kristen Stewart's new boyfriend allowing her to go to dinner, alone, with Robert Pattison. You better believe Luhnow still knows all the Cardinals prospects' hot spots)
Orioles get: Bud Norris
Wright has BOR or 7/8 inning upside. His secondary stuff is intriguing and he keeps the ball on the ground. The problem is, he doesn't have an elite pitch, which prevents him from missing as many bats as you'd like him to. He fits right into the Astros mold of strike-throwing BOR guys. The key here is creating more competition and turning Norris into a pitcher with plenty of control left.
Avery is one of the best athletes in the Orioles system, but has a lot of Jay Austin in him. It's easy to fall in love with his athleticism, but as a 23-year-old, with five years of minor league experience, he's hasn't developed the way he should have. He's probably a fourth outfielder-type.
At 27, Brian Ward is hardly considered a prospect, but the Astros have expressed in adding catching depth to their organization. Although his upside is limited, I really like what he brings to the table. He doesn't strike out much, gets on base at an above-average clip and plays very good defense behind the plate. If nothing else, he gives the Astros a very good back-up catcher for a long time.
Cardinals get: Bud Norris
Astros get: Anthony Garcia, Greg Garcia
Anthony Garcia is similar to Domingo Santana in a sense that he's a corner outfielder with power potential and a plate approach that needs polishing, but that's where the similarities end. He's much smaller than Domingo, has a weaker arm, and strikes out a little less. His defense is also a work in progress, as he transitions from catcher. Nonetheless, someone with his power would be a nice get.
I really like Greg Garcia. He's played some second, third and short, and if the Astros think he can stick at short, his value is much higher. Defensively, he has decent range and a strong arm. Offensively, he has a decent amount of pop, and gets on base at a Nolan Fontanaesque-pace. His versatility and approach will make him a valuable commodity on any 25-man roster.
Padres get: Bud Norris
Astros get: Robbie Erlin and James Darnell
This one is for Jared Webb, who has pimping this very trade on Twitter for a few days now. Erlin is a control pitcher, with BOR stuff, which reminds of a left-handed Jordan Lyles. His fastball tops out in the low 90s, but his secondary stuff, command, and ability to keep the ball down make up for his small frame and non-elite arsenal. He'd make the back-end of the Astros ML rotation even more competitive than it already is, for the next few years.
Darnell is another solid prospect, but he won't blow anybody away. He can play third or a corner OF spot. He has an above average power power and gets on base a lot. His low strikeout totals are another plus.
It's pretty clear the Astros won't net an elite prospect for Bud. They key remains the same: build depth and create competition throughout the entire organization, while acquiring young players, with similar upsides to the ones you're trading, as well as more controllable years.
Of the three hypothetical trades, which do you prefer? Do you think the hauls are too much, too little, or just right, for someone like Bud Norris?