The Baltimore Orioles have acquired right-hander Bud Norris and $213,000 in international signing bonus money from the Houston Astros in exchange for outfielder L.J. Hoes, left-handed pitcher Josh Hader, and a competitive balance draft pick, according to an announcement from the league.
Norris, 28, has been one of the hottest names on the pitching market in recent weeks, drawing interest from the Diamondbacks, Braves, Pirates, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Giants and Rangers.
He is the third pitcher that the O's have acquired this month, joining starter Scott Feldman and reliever Francisco Rodriguez. In 21 starts on the season, Norris is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA, 6.4 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9.
He is under team control through the 2015 season, and should be a solid piece in the middle of Baltimore's rotation.
Hoes, 23, was ranked by Baseball America as Orioles' sixth best prospect prior to the season. The left-fielder has spent the season with Triple-A Norfolk, hitting .304 with 3 HR and 40 RBI in 99 games, and was recently called up to the majors. The 2008 3rd round pick is known for his ability to hit for average and run well, and will likely join the Astros in the major leagues immediately.
Hader, 19, is considered to be the prize of the package for the Astros. After being thought of as a steal in the 19th round of last year's draft by the Orioles, he has pitched to a 3-6 record and 2.65 ERA in 17 starts with Single-A Delmarva on the season. The Baltimore native is known as a high-ceiling young pitcher who throws his fastball in the 89-93 mph range and has good command of his curveball, slider and changeup. He joins an Astros system filled with promising young arms that have been acquired in trades for veterans.
By bolstering their pitching staff with the additions of Feldman, Norris and Rodriguez, the Orioles have signaled to the baseball world that they are going to be aggressive in their playoff push this year. The team gave up two of their top six prospects to make deals this month, and hope that the their three new pitchers will be worth it down the stretch.
The Astros, who were expected to be busy at the deadline, only moved Norris and outfielder Justin Maxwell on Wednesday. By acquiring two young high-ceiling prospects like Hoes and Hader, they are able to continue their rebuilding process as they look towards contending sometime in the near future.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the two sides had reached an agreement for Hoes and a Competitive Balance pick (Twitter links). Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported that Hader was involved in the deal (on Twitter).