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Winners, Losers of Bud Norris Trade Involving Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIJuly 31, 2013

Winners, Losers of Bud Norris Trade Involving Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles

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    Bud Norris was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles in a deadline deal, according to MLB.com's Joey Nowak.

    In return, the Orioles sent outfielder L.J. Hoes, left-handed pitcher Josh Hader and a competitive balance pick to the Houston Astros. The competitive-balance pick is No. 33, which had a signing bonus worth $1.65 million in the 2013 MLB Draft, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Hoes is now considered the No. 18 prospect in the Astros' system, and was batting .304 with three home runs and 40 RBI at Triple-A Norfolk.

    Hader is an even higher-rated prospect, now ranked No. 13 in the Astros' system. So far this year, Hader is 3-6 with a 2.65 ERA in Class-A.

    The move is nice for the Orioles because it gives them another starter for their rotation, while the Astros show they are in continual rebuild mode.

    So, who were the winners and losers of the trade?

Winners: Baltimore Orioles

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    The Orioles are obviously winners with this deal as they grab another arm for their rotation. Currently five games out in the AL East, the Orioles are still in good position for the second wild card spot.

    Baltimore's starting rotation ranks 24th in baseball with a 4.64 ERA and .271 average allowed to opposing hitters.

    Norris is sitting at 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA, which is very good considering he played for the Astros.

    One thing that might make fans nervous is a tweet from ESPN Stats & Info which states, "Norris is 5-17 with a 6.62 ERA away from Houston over the last 2 seasons (8-5, 2.35 at HOU)."

    If you're an Orioles' fan, you might not like to see those numbers.

    Regardless, what makes Baltimore winners is the fact that they didn't have to give up one of their top prospects to get Norris.

    While they did give up the No. 5 and 7 prospects in their system, they were able to hang onto Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop, Dylan Bundy, Hunter Harvey and Eduardo Rodriguez.

    In my book, that's a good day.

Losers: Houston Astros

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    The Astros got a decent deal, acquiring the No. 5 and 7 prospects from the Orioles.

    However, at what point does Houston stop selling their top players at the MLB level only to acquire prospects. At some point they have to put a contending team on the field.

    Right now, the Astros are loaded up in the minor leagues. From Carolos Correa and Jonathan Singleton, to Mark Appel and Lance McCullers, you have to like the youngsters the Astros have.

    But, what is going to stop them from selling those players off once they make the major leagues.

    They've already shown they'll sell the centerpieces of their franchises, i.e. Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Norris, etc.

    Until the Astros start winning ballgames with the players they trade for, they will be losers in any deal. None of the trades have helped in the big leagues yet, which is the whole point of making deadline moves.

Winner: L.J. Hoes

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    Hoes will finally get his chance to prove himself at the big-league level with the Astros.

    He was blocked from the big leagues with Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Nate McClouth manning the outfield in Baltimore.

    He may have gotten a chance to prove himself in 2014 since McLouth is a free agent after this year, but there were no guarantees.

    He proved himself every year for the last five years in the minors and he still only got four total MLB at-bats.

    Take the last three years for example. In 2011, Hoes batted .285 with nine home runs and 71 RBI across Class-A (Advanced) and Double-A. In 2012, he batted .287 with five home runs and 54 RBI across Double-A and Triple-A.

    This year, he's batted .304 with three home runs, 40 RBI and 25 doubles.

    He'll never be a pure power hitter, but Hoes has the ability to be a good leadoff or No. 2 hitter in the big leagues.

    Now in Houston, Hoes will be a part of young group of outfielders where he has the chance to shine.

    There is good talent around him, but he has to avoid striking out, something his new teammates have struggled with this year.

Losers: Texas Rangers and New York Yankees

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    The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees are both losers in this deal because they are competing with the Orioles for the second wild card.

    The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays seem to be fighting for the AL East crown, with the loser getting the first wild card.

    While Baltimore didn't add a bat, they got a lot of depth in the pitching department during trade deadline activities. Pitching was their biggest need and it's something the Orioles addressed.

    For the Yankees and Rangers, that's bad news. The Yankees made moves, but got older in the outfield (Alfonso Soriano), while the Rangers added Matt Garza, which is great for their rotation.

    The Rangers also have the possible suspension of Nelson Cruz on the horizon, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark, making the fact that they didn't acquire a bat hurt even more. Throw in Lance Berkman might retire, according to CBS Sports' Mike Axisa, and the Rangers are really hurting for a bat.

    Taking both bats out of the lineup for the rest of the year gets rid of 24.6 percent of the team's home runs.

    That leaves Adrian Beltre (22 home runs), Mitch Moreland (14), David Murphy (11) and A.J. Pierzynski (11) as the leading home-run hitters on the team.

    When looking at that, it's easy to see the Rangers needed to acquire another power bat.

    Any way you look at it, the Orioles got much better, while the Rangers improved a little and the Yankees stayed about the same.

Winner: Bud Norris

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    Any time you go from one of the worst teams in the league to a team fighting for a playoff spot, it has to be a shot in the arm.

    Norris is still under team control for another two years, and barring a trade between now and the 2015 trade deadline, he'll be competing for the playoffs the next two years.

    Norris finally has an offense that can give him support and help him win games. 

    In Houston, he was only receiving 3.29 runs of support per game, which ranks him 43rd out of 45 eligible pitchers. Baltimore, on the other hand, is providing 4.7 runs of support per game.

    Maybe that's all he needs to have to reach his full potential.

    Even if that's not the case, Norris is finally playing for a winner. The Astros were 296-457 with Norris on the team.

    That's not exactly an environment for success.

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