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Friday, January 11, 2013

What Could Luhnow Get For...Bud Norris?

by Jared Webb @webberoo11

When I was little I was always curious about where trades came from. I remember originally thinking they came from eggs.   

When a rumor pops up about an Astros trade, I always find myself speculating about who will be involved.  I think the accuracy of my guesses is in the negative numbers at this point.  With the Astros still looking to build, I'm still guessing what deal happens next.   

I once was accused of trying to mentally trade everyone. In reality, I just feel that everyone's prospects belong to the Astros.  That isn't unreasonable, right?   

With all that being said, let's look at Houston's most likely trade candidates.  We will assume that all players mentioned stay healthy and have good, contributing years.

(All trade ideas are simply to give you an idea on the value of the players. When listed, prospect rankings are taken from the rankings.)

Bud Norris

Bud is probably viewed as a #4 or #5 by most teams.  His biggest values are that he is cheap and under cteam control until after the 2016 season.  If I had to compare him to someone, value-wise, it would be Edwin Jackson.  His numbers are slightly higher than Jackson's, plus he is much much less expensive.  Norris' ERA went up by almost an entire point in 2012, but in reality his numbers were quite similar to 2011.  With the market for starting pitching being so slim, Norris' trade value is at its all time highest.  Here are some trade possibilities

San Diego-Robbie Erlin LHP 22 yrs old Ranked #8/ James Darnell 3B/LF 25 yrs old

 Robbie Erlin is a command/control specialist who is a simple step away from the show.  Erlin is a fly ball pitcher, but with his pitch ability I'm sure he could adapt and be a really good left handed arm in the Astros' rotation.  His stuff plays up due to his amazing command/control.  He uses an 88-91 mph FB and just recently dominated the AFL.

James Darnell is completely blocked at 3B by Chase Headley and Jedd Gyorko, but his athleticism could make him a valuable asset in LF.  He has some power and has shown an ability to get on base.  Darnell turns 26 next week and has past the "prospect" window of his career.  However, he was regularly rated in the top 15 and still has a lot to offer..

St. Louis- Trevor Rosenthal RHP 22 yrs old Ranked #5/ CJ McElroy OF 19 yrs old Ranked #20

Trevor Rosenthal is probably a stretch here, but St. Louis is stacked with ML ready pitchers.  The Astros would be crazy not to ask for him.  He fits the mold of a sinker ball pitcher that Jeff Lunhow likes, and could slot into Houston's rotation now.  He is a strike thrower who doesn't hurt himself with walks.  A more realistic pitcher in the trade would be John Gast #9 LHP.  He is a solid LHP who has reached AAA and could make the Astros rotation by August/September.

CJ McElroy would add a legit CF prospect to the system.  He would fit the Bourn mold of a speedy CF who doesn't offer up much power.  CJ is a top notch athlete who offers good at bats and has shown good pitch recognition.  Instead of McElroy, Luhnow could also ask for Matt Carpenter.  Carpenter could offer competition in LF and an advanced plate approach.  He doesn't have a ton of power, but he could offer 10-15 HR annually.  The biggest perk for Carpenter would be his advanced eye and good bat to ball ability.

Texas-Leonys Martin CF 24 yrs old/ Robbie Ross LHP 23 yrs old

Leonys Martin is behind Craig Gentry in the depth chart and doesn't have much MLB experience.  He could offer the Astros a good defensive CF who could be a top of the order threat.  He has good speed and even some power that could be just what the Astros would love to have.  He could be available based on injuries he suffered in 2012.

Robbie Ross can rack up strikeouts, but lacks the refined command/control that a team would like.  He received a call up in 2012 and didn't disappoint.  He sits in the low 90's with a very sharp slider.  Most think Ross will slot into the bullpen, but I'm sure the Astros would try to continue his development as a starter.

Speculation- My guess is that Norris will be dealt before the season begins, while the market is still thin.  I worry about what will happen to Norris' value when he starts pitching in the AL West. He is probably more valuable to an NL team.

Coming Next: What Could Luhnow Get For... Jed Lowrie?

c2013 Jared Web.  Used with permission.

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