Pirates Unlikely to Trade For Bud Norris

Jeff Passan has a few updates on Bud Norris, who was recently scratched from his start tonight with the Houston Astros, indicating he’s close to being traded.

I’m going to go throw up, then I’ll be back to give some thoughts.

UPDATE 12:50 PM: So hopefully this is Passan just speculating. He did say Pittsburgh “could” be a landing spot. His comments on Glasnow are more speculation. But it seems like he’s basing all of this on some sort of knowledge, otherwise why just come out and mention the Pirates and Glasnow?

I don’t think the Pirates need starting pitching. I don’t think Norris is a starting pitcher who should require a top prospect. If the Pirates were setting their playoff rotation today, Norris wouldn’t be in my top 3, and might not even be in the top 4. The only appeal here is that Norris has years of control, but he’s also a mid-to-back of the rotation starter, and the Pirates aren’t in need of that. He’s a guy that makes sense for a team like the Pirates two years ago. Someone that needs a reliable starter and innings. That’s not the Pirates right now.

Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports that no trade is even close, so I wouldn’t assume a Norris deal is pending.

UPDATE 1:05 PM: Some thoughts from James Santelli profiling Norris…

Norris is a league-average pitcher over the last four seasons, maintaining a career ERA of 4.33 pitching mostly in hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park and a 4.14 FIP. Norris’ strikeout numbers have fallen this year (16.6%, 6.4 K/9) versus last year (22.5%, 8.8 K/9), but he has made up for it in run prevention by allowing fewer walks and fewer home runs.┬áHe has also been mostly healthy, making at least 27 starts each of the last three seasons and primed for his 4th straight season pitching more than 150 innings.

Relying mostly on strong fastball velocity (average 93.5 mph) and a power slider (average velocity 86.4 mph) that is a good swing-and-miss pitch, Norris cuts up right-handed hitters very well but struggles against lefties. If the Pirates acquired him, Norris would appear to slide in well as a No. 4 starter behind Francisco Liriano, A.J. Burnett and Jeff Locke. More than anything, he possesses the ability to throw quality innings to take the burden off Locke and Gerrit Cole, who are being watched closely as they reach career highs for innings pitched.

UPDATE 1:10 PM: Just some xFIP numbers on Norris and the Pirates rotation this year:

Francisco Liriano – 3.04

A.J. Burnett – 3.13

Gerrit Cole – 3.65

Charlie Morton – 3.71

Wandy Rodriguez – 4.03

Jeanmar Gomez – 4.17

Jeff Locke – 4.18

Bud Norris – 4.49

A few notes on that. In his career, Norris is a 4.06 xFIP pitcher, although his strikeouts are down this year, which probably impacts the results. Even if he’s at that level, he’s the #5 option on that list above. You could probably also use the FIP values for Locke, since xFIP assumes a 10% HR/FB rate, and that tends to be lower for left-handers (Locke is at 7.2%). So Locke would be ahead of Norris. Then when Wandy Rodriguez comes back, Norris becomes the 7th best pitcher on the team if you use his career xFIP, or the 8th if you use this year’s numbers (Jeanmar Gomez would be ahead of him).

UPDATE 1:17 PM: Giving some more thoughts here, I really don’t see Glasnow getting traded in this type of deal. The Pirates haven’t made it a habit of trading away top prospects. They also haven’t made it a habit of paying huge prices at the deadline. Dealing Glasnow for Norris would be a complete 180 from what the Pirates have done in the past. I just don’t see it happening.

UPDATE 5:17 PM: Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle says that Norris was scratched to prevent injury.

UPDATE 6:11 PM: Brian McTaggart of MLB.com sats the Pirates, Diamondbacks, and Orioles are three of the teams in on Norris.

McTaggart said there would be more, and if there are any additional details in his article I’ll post the link.

UPDATE 7:43 PM: Bill Brink reports that the Pirates are unlikely to make a deal for Norris.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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