1. Bud Norris, Starting Pitcher, Houston Astros
This season with the Astros, Norris has a 3.35 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 32 walks in 102 innings. For his career, he has averaged 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings. These numbers are pretty impressive given the fact that he’s had to pitch at Minute Maid Park, which is a hitter-friendly field.
Also, Norris is from the Bay Area and was a Giants fan as a child. He grew up in Novato, in Marin County, and he said it would be a “dream come true” to play for the team that he rooted for when he was younger.
The Giants have been linked to another starting pitcher who’s likely to be traded at the trade deadline, Ricky Nolasco. However, Brian Sabean has said that he doesn’t want to trade for someone who will become a free agent soon.
“We’re not going to make a deal just to make a deal,” Sabean said. “The price of doing business right now is prohibitive.”
Nolasco’s contract is much larger than Norris’ contract for this year. Nolasco is set to make $11.5 million this year, and he becomes a free agent at the end of this season. Norris, on the other hand, makes $3 million this year ($1 million after the trade deadline) and is arbitration-eligible in 2014. He won’t become a free agent until 2016, so he would be a better fit for the Giants in that perspective.
In addition, if the Giants tried to trade for Nolasco, the Marlins would most likely want some more valuable prospects that the Giants might not want to part with, such as Kyle Crick. In addition, the Giants can’t try to use Heath Hembree or Gary Brown as trade bait, because these two have struggled mightily as of late, and the Marlins might not be interested.
The Giants probably wouldn’t have to give up such high prospects for Norris. The Astros might be content with taking a lesser-known prospect and a pitcher, such as Ty Blach, who plays for the single-A San Jose Giants and has a 8-3 record with a 2.72 ERA.
As mentioned before, the Giants could really use another quality arm in the starting rotation given the inconsistency from Lincecum, Zito, and Cain this year. The Giants don’t need an ace, because Madison Bumgarner has already grown into that role. They just need someone who can eat up innings, which Norris can do.