Astros rumors: Bud Norris on the trading block?

Beck Diefenbach-US PRESSWIRE

Houston may not quite be done clearing up payroll, as Norris is "available and drawing interest."

The Houston Astros dropped their 2013 payroll down to roughly $14 million on Monday by sending shortstop Jed Lowrie to the Athletics in exchange for three pre-arbitration players.

Though the club has the lowest payroll in the league by a fair margin, GM Jeff Luhnow might not be done clearing house: the Astros have made right-hander Bud Norris "available" and the starter is already drawing interest, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

After trading shortstop Jed Lowrie on Monday, the Houston Astros still might not be done dealing.

Their next player to go could be right-hander Bud Norris, who currently is the Astros’ highest-salaried player at $3 million.

Norris, who turns 28 on March 2, is available and drawing interest, according to major-league sources.

The Orioles, Padres, and Cardinals -- who lost Chris Carpenter for the season yesterday -- all showed at least some interest in Norris at the winter meetings, according to Rosenthal, so they could pick up their pursuit again.

While Norris isn't the only starting pitcher available on the trade market, Rosenthal speculates that he could end up providing the most value.

Related: Astros Are Headed in the Right Direction

The coming season will be Norris' fifth in the big leagues, meaning the right-hander still has two years of arb-eligibility left before hitting the open market. His three remaining years of team control, along with his low 2013 salary of $3 million and relatively solid back-of-the-rotation numbers, could make Norris a coveted commodity on the trading block.

Norris owns a 4.35 ERA and 8.8 K/9 rate over 97 starts in his four seasons to date. While his strikeout numbers are consistently great, the right-hander has struggled to keep the ball inside the fences at Minute Maid Park. If anyone takes a flyer on him, they'd have to hope his 1.2 HR/9 rate would eventually go down outside of Houston.


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