Norris excited for opportunity in Baltimore
Bud Norris, one of the few remaining players from the Astros’ previous regime, is on his way to a pennant race.
The Astros finally pulled of a deal just minutes before Wednesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, sending Norris to the Orioles in exchange for outfielder L.J. Hoes and another player.
“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Norris told MLB.com. “I’m very thankful for Houston and the organization for everything they’ve done for me and given to me. You get drafted by them and come through the Minor League system and play here for four years. Houston’s been my home for a long time. It will be hard to leave a lot of it behind me, but as I look forward I’m excited to play in Baltimore. They’ve got a great city and a great, young team. They play together and play very hard. I’m excited to go to postseason and make a run at something.”
Norris, 28, is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 21 starts for the Astros, but was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday in Baltimore, only adding to speculation a trade was in the works. At a $3 million annual salary, Norris was the Astros’ highest-paid player and is under club control for two more years beyond 2013.
Norris, the longest current tenured member of the team, has seen more than 12 trades in the last few years, with many teammates leaving Houston for greener pastures. The list includes Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Lance Berkman, Michael Bourn, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Chris Johnson, J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon.
“I really wanted to get an opportunity play in the postseason,” he said. “You play in the big leagues to go out there to win to be the best you can be. It’s been a tough stretch the last four years in Houston and I’ve seen a lot of people get traded from them. I’ve prepared for it and I’m really excited for the opportunity to pitch in Baltimore.”
The trade punches a huge hole in the Astros’ rotation, but they have some arms coming in the Minor Leagues. Jarred Cosart, one of their top pitching prospects, made his debut earlier this month and more young arms could follow.
With Norris off the books, the Astros’ highest-paid player is veteran left-hander Erik Bedard, who’s making $1.15 million. The only other player making more than $1 million is relief pitcher Wesley Wright at $1.025 million.
The Astros traded closer Jose Veras to the Tigers on Monday in chance for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later. Vasquez was the No. 4-ranked prospect in the Tigers system and was sent to Class A Quad Cities.