After Chicago Cubs’ starter Matt Garza officially gets dealt, and that appears to be happening soon as it looks like Garza could be on his way to the Texas Rangers, the Pittsburgh Pirates and all other buyers at the trade deadline will turn their attention to other available arms.
And it appears like Houston Astros’ starter Bud Norris is Plan B for the Bucs and several other teams.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Pirates are one of five teams that are showing heavy interest in the 28-year old right-hander.
Norris is having the best year of his career with a 3.91 ERA in 119.2 innings this year. His strikeout rate (6.2 K/9, career 8.4 K/9) has fallen significantly this season, but he’s cut his walk (3.0 BB/9, career 3.7 BB/9) and home run rates (0.8 HR/9. 1.1 career HR/9).
He has been one of the most talked-about trade chips in July, with an executive telling Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com last week that he could be the next starter to be moved after Garza.
Norris may not provide as immediate of an impact as Garza, but with only a $3 million salary this season and two years of team control remaining after this year, he offers significant long-term value, especially for a team like the Pirates.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Astros’ have set the high price of two top prospects in exchange for the hurler, a price that could drop as the July 31 deadline nears.
Depending on the level of the prospects, Norris is a guy who makes a lot of sense for a team like the Bucs who are looking to add another quality arm for the stretch run.
In addition to the Pirates, the Rangers, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Giants are all being linked to Norris.