As expected, the Astros traded bud Norris to Baltimore just before today’s 3:00 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. The Astros also dealt away outfielder Justin Maxwell — to Kansas City.
The Astros get outfielder L.J. Hoes and left-handed pitcher Josh Hader in return for Norris. Both players are ranked by MLB.com as top-10 prospects in the Orioles system. Hoes, 23, has been added to the Astros active roster and will be starting in rightfield and batting second tonight against his former team. Hader, 19, has been having an outstanding season as a starter in the South Atlantic League.
The package also includes Baltimore’s competitive balance pick in next year’s draft. That draft pick, which should come at about pick number 40 overall, could turn out to be the key component in this trade for the Astros. Jeff Luhnow did a nice job of sifting through multiple offers for Norris and getting a nice package in return.
In the Maxwell trade the Astros acquired 20-year old right-hander Kyle Smith. The youngster has posted impressive minor league numbers since being drafted by the Royals in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. Smith has worked exclusively as a starter and has been at (High-A) Wilmington for the entire 2013 season.
With Norris out of the picture the Astros turn to lefty Brett Oberholtzer to make a spot start tonight against the Orioles. Erik Bedard was next in line for the start but needs a few more days to rest a sore shoulder.