Houston Astros right-hander Bud Norris has been a popular subject of trade rumors over the last few months, but GM Jeff Luhnow is resolute in his stance that the club has no plans to trade its rotation anchor anytime soon, reports Brian McTaggert of MLB.com:
"Bud’s a critical part of our team," Luhnow said. "He’s always going to be rumored to be moved, and that’s unfortunate for him and unfortunate for us, but here’s nothing active happening right now.
"There hasn’t been in a long time and we’re not planning on moving Bud. He’s an important part of our team right now."
Norris, 28, has worn the label of "trade bait" since early winter by virtue of being the highest-paid player (at just $3 million) on a team that is in extreme rebuilding mode. The right-hander is just one of five players on the Astros' active roster to be owed over $1 million this season and, among those, is one of two not acquired via free agency (left-hander Wesley Wright, who I've never heard of, is the other non-free agent owed $1MM+).
Just because Luhnow is adamant that Norris is important to the team "right now," does not mean that he will continue to be important when the All-Star break and trade deadline come around in July. The right-hander isn't off to a great start -- a 4.74 ERA and 6.6 K/9 in 19 innings over four starts -- but if he can put together a strong string of outings between now and the summer, look for trade activity in the Astros' front office to pick up.
Norris still has two years of team control remaining beyond this season, so any return for the right-hander should be pretty good if he doesn't completely implode over the next two-plus months.