While it has been speculated that the Giants are interested in Norris, one thing for sure is that Norris would love to play for his childhood team. Norris said as much in an interview with Jon Morosi of Fox Sports:
It gives you goose bumps when you think about it, ... Obviously growing up there, being a big Giants fan — and I rooted for the A’s, too, in the area, but I was more of a Giants fan. That’s a possibility. It’s all trade rumors, as they say.
While Norris, who is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA, has apparently made up his mind, the Giants have not—in fact, they are currently in limbo. As of the All-Star break, the Giants are 7.5 games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks, and general manager Brian Sabean is likely still pondering whether his club will be buyers or sellers at the deadline.
Regardless of the Giants' position before the deadline, acquiring Norris would not only improve their chances of staying in contention in 2013 but also bolster their rotation heading into next year, which the Giants must start thinking about now.
Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito will be free agents at the end of the year, and it is unknown if either will be back with the team in 2013. Ryan Vogelsong's status is also an unknown due to his struggles prior to breaking his hand in late May.
This means that possibly 60 percent of the Giants rotation could be new faces in 2014, which is both good and bad news.
The good news is that nearly $40 million will be cleared up due to Lincecum and Zito's contracts coming off the books. The bad news, well, is that it will be tough to replace those pitchers in free agency. Names like Matt Garza, Josh Johnson and Hiroki Kuroda top the free-agent list of starters on the market, and all will likely get grossly overpaid. The Giants also don't have the luxury of having prospects waiting in the wings, as all of the promising arms are in the lower levels of the farm system.
This is why Norris makes sense for the Giants, assuming the Astros are willing to part ways with their ace.
The three things that attract me to Norris are his age, contract situation, and the fact that he's a fly-ball pitcher.
Norris is only 28 years old and would still be under team control until 2016 (Norris has two years of arbitration remaining.)
Secondly, his home run-to-fly ball ratio this year is only 6.9 percent, which would only drastically improve after switching to the spacious confines of AT&T Park.
But now for the tricky part: In a video game, Norris would be much easier to acquire than in real life. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The Astros know how valuable Norris is, considering his age and contract situation, so it will likely take a lucrative deal to pry him away.
But this is what makes the Giants the perfect trade partners in the eyes of the Astros. A young pitching prospect is probably the most valuable trade asset to a team rebuilding, and the Giants have plenty of those.
Aside from Kyle Crick—who is likely untouchable—young arms like Clayton Blackburn, Chris Stratton, Martin Agosta, Edwin Escobar and Ty Blach are all quality arms who could be packaged together in order to obtain Norris. Sabean could also couple Gary Brown or Andrew Susac with one of the pitchers previously listed, and that could possibly get the job done.
Despite the Giants' underwhelming record at the moment, this is still a team built to win championships now and for the foreseeable future. Adding Norris to be the No. 3 pitcher behind Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner would fortify the top of the rotation for at least the next few years, which is when those young arms should be ready for the majors.
Trading for Norris would not only be a short-term investment but a long-term one as well, which is why the Giants need to pull the trigger.