Bud Norris (Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)

Why the Astros SHOULD NOT Trade Bud Norris

I have had enough. There has been enough suffering. The Astros are likely on their way to a third straight 100 loss season, but brighter days are coming. That much we know.

The question then, is when? Already this season there have been flashes and times where it really looked like the Astros might turn the corner. Of course there have also been some unwatchable games where Houston just had no chance to win.

However sweeping the Angels on the road, hitting six home runs in one game against the Orioles, and scoring six runs in the ninth inning against the Mariners the other night just pull you back in. Daily there are reports of exploits and success from the minor league system.

Optimism is around in abundant supply. But that also means that we should not be delusional here either. Regardless of the success the Astros have had for the majority of the last month and in the minor league system, we are still a few years away from seeing a legitimate contender.

I am willing to surmise that the first month of this season was essentially rock bottom and things will start to go up from here. For the rest of this year, the process might be slow and inconsistent, but better times are coming.

It will be an accomplishment for the Astros to finish with better than 90-95 losses next season, but they might start to tease us in 2015. And at that time, it would certainly be nice to have a starting pitcher in the prime of his career to lead the way.

Said starting pitcher does not need to be a legitimate number one starter and perennial All-Star, just a solid innings eater that can lead the staff. Mark Appel and Jarred Cosart will likely be part of the rotation in 2015, but it will be too soon in their careers for them to take charge of the staff. A veteran in the rotation would certainly take the load off of the young pitchers and give them a chance to grow and develop into All-Star level pitchers.

While the Astros have a plethora of young players and prospects, it will still likely be a few years before they are in the position of being buyers on the trade market. The type of starting pitcher the Astros would be after, likely would not be available on the trade market though, so that could be a problem.

Unless of course, that pitcher is already on the Astros roster. On the offensive side, the Astros have Jose Altuve and Jason Castro as players that will be around and part of the core for the Astros for at least the next few years. And there is no talk about trading either of those players.

So then why are we talking about trading Bud Norris? Yes he has been in the big leagues since 2009 and is in the midst of his fourth full season, but he will not be eligible for free agency until 2016 and is only 28 years old.

After a successful 2011, Norris regressed last season but appears to have figured it out so far this season. In 14 starts so far this season Norris is 5-6 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. His WHIP has improved this season, but it is still troubling for sure.

Norris has been the best pitcher in the Astros rotation so far this season, and it is important to remember not to overvalue him. He does not strike out enough batters (6.2 per nine innings this season) and allows too many baserunners. The Astros have had high hopes for Norris, and he has not always lived up to his expectations.

So now this season when it seems that he has figured it out, it is slightly disheartening to hear the trade winds swirling around Norris. I do understand why they are there, I just disagree with the idea of trading him.

There are many teams in need of starting pitchers, and there are not a lot of available options. Norris is certainly an attractive option for teams looking to buy, and it is likely that his value will never be higher. There are still at least two years between the Astros and even the word playoffs, so why not pick up some more prospects for the starter?

Over the last few years, restocking the farm system was a necessity. It was hard to see players like Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn depart, but the trades had to happen. At this point the Astros have more than enough prospects and the minor league system is fully stocked with talent. While Norris might get a decent return, it is not likely that he will bring back an impact player.

Instead, I think Norris has more value to the Astros than the potential return they could get for him in a trade. As the Astros start to turn the corner, there is a need to have a veteran like Norris in the rotation.

This is not to say that players like Ronny Cedeno, Carlos Pena, and Jose Veras should not be trade bait, but Norris needs to stay. Norris, along with Altuve and Castro should be part of the core that leads the Astros into playoff contention.



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  • Eric Reining

    No, trade him. Continue with the plan. Some contender could use a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher like him, and with 2015 in mind, try to snatch a prospect or two while you are at it.

    • Ray_Kuhn_28

      I totally agree with the logic. But I still think Norris is young enough to contribute when the Astros get good and also he is a useful player to have around now. Additionally I think that it is time to start reversing course from the selling plan to some degree.

  • [email protected]

    Houston always seems to rid pitchers at the right time. Oswalt, Wade Miller, Wagner Lidge are some that come to mind that either are out of baseball or are hurt. I like Bud Norris but why not get a bat for him ? The free agent market was horrid but do you feel a BIG BAT DH will get signed ? I always thought Dunn couldve been picked up years ago. Just is beyond me why a huge bat doesnt hit at minute maid. For the years watching Ausmus hit grounders had annoyed me. Its time to get a big bat or two. C mon already1 312 down the line ?

    • Ray_Kuhn_28

      If a big powerful bat is coming back to Houston, then I certainly would be ok with trading Norris. Your point is a good one. My bigger issue is that I don’t want to see Norria moved just for the sake of trading him.

      • [email protected]

        I hear you RK28. I dont want this to be when guys get good then Houston unloads them. At first I didnt like the clean house and 26 mil payroll. Seeing it now I feel it was a smart move. I would like to see Bud Norris stay as well. In years past it seemed Houston dealt with Tigers and Phillies when it came to trades. Going forward do you know any connections Houston would be working with to make trades? Blue Jays ? Any big bat free agents Houston could go after this season ? Why didnt Houston keep Pence ? Cash ?

        • Ray_Kuhn_28

          Exactly…I got the point last year and year before, but it was to stop at some point.

          I can see the Astros working with the Tigers again on deals. I will write about this more in depth as the month goes on, but right now I Detroit, Washington, San Diego, and San Francisco as the biggest suitors for Norris in no particular order. It also wouldn’t shock me to see Toronto get in there as well.

          i can’t see Houston making any big free agent signings this offseason. A trade might be more likely although it wouldnt shock me to see some multi year deals to younger type players

          Yeah, pretty much it boiled down to cash on Pence since he was arbitration eligible. That and the fact that he was their most valuable asset and getting Cosart and Singleton for him, you can’t argue that fact.

          • [email protected]

            I appreciate your response and look forward to future articles you write up.  There are Astro fans reading !!!  I would hope for a salary cap if the Astros wont ever fork up money like some ball clubs do.  Is this owner pumped up to win or just a business opp for him ? Pretty sad as a fan I m just hoping for 42 wins to have the 62 mets hold onto the worst record. Ironically in 1962 it showed the Mets tied the Colt .45s. How was there a tie ?

          • Ray_Kuhn_28

            Thanks for reading, it is much appreciated. Crane has said the right things about spending money, but I haven’t seen anything yet where he has proved it, so we shall see.