The Baltimore Orioles, who are right in the thick of the American League East and wild-card races, made a move on Wednesday to bolster their pitching staff down the stretch.
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 31, at 4:35 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
The Orioles made the Norris trade official via Twitter:
The Orioles have acquired RHP Bud Norris and International Signing Bonus Slot #91 from Houston.— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 31, 2013
The Astros will receive OF L.J. Hoes, LHP Josh Hader, and Baltimore’s 2014 Draft Competitive Balance Pick-Round A, Selection #2.— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 31, 2013
---End of update---
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman and the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly provide us with the details of the swap:
#orioles get bud norris. trade is complete.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 31, 2013
The Orioles are sending LJ Hoes and Josh Hader and their comp pick in 204 for Bud Norris— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) July 31, 2013
In the midst of his fifth season with the Astros, Norris currently holds a 6-9 record with a 3.93 ERA, but his WHIP (1.41) is less than outstanding, and his SO/9 ratio (6.4) is by far the lowest of his career.
However, the Orioles are currently five games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the East and 4.5 behind the Boston Red Sox in the wild-card standings. With a team ERA that sits near the bottom of the majors, and with Jason Hammel and the recently acquired Scott Feldman struggling at the end of the rotation, this was a necessary upgrade.
Should Norris be able to keep his ERA where it is now, he will make for a very solid fourth starter behind Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez and Wei-Yin Chen as the O's attempt to reach the postseason for the second year in a row.
On the other side of the deal, the Astros, owners of the worst record in baseball, get some interesting pieces for the future.
Who got the better end of this deal?
L.J. Hoes is a left fielder who was just called up by the Orioles and has only four career plate appearances in the majors. However, the 23-year-old hit .304/.406/.403 in 99 games at Triple-A Norfolk this season.
He lacks power—just 24 home runs across six minor league seasons—but he has displayed a nice ability to get on base, having compiled more walks than strikeouts this year.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Hader rounds out the deal. He was taken by Baltimore in the 19th round of the 2012 draft, but has shown some tantalizing potential. In 17 starts at Single-A Delmarva this year, the left-hander has compiled a 2.65 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 85 innings.
Both sides clearly got the pieces that fit their situation, but there's still a lot of time to see who benefits the most.