Bud Norris makes no sense for an Astros team which seems laser-focused on turning veterans who won’t be part of the next winning Houston team into prospects. So this report from Brian T. Smith of the Chronicle should probably be read as “Bud Norris is going someplace today, we just don’t know where yet”:
The Astros have standing offers for No. 1 starter Bud Norris but are hoping a team increases its pitch during the final hours before a 3 p.m. CT non-waiver trade deadline, a league source with knowledge of negotiations said Wednesday morning.
Smith says the Pirates, Orioles and Dbacks have all shown interest.
Norris is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA who probably allows more base runners than you’d like to see, but he’s been durable and reliable over his career and would help solidify most rotations, even if he’s not some sort of top-end, game-changing kind of talent.
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.