The Houston Astros are 31 games under .500 and they’ve already begun purging their roster of veteran players. Despite the lack of success as a team, Houston has a couple of pieces drawing significant interest on the trade market and it is expected that both pitcher Bud Norris and Jose Veras will be dealt away before the July 31 trade deadline.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
The likelihood would seem to be that both veteran players are traded from the also-ran team, as last-place Houston, which has done an excellent job gathering prospects lately, continues to shoot for 2015 and beyond.
Norris is still under team control for two more season and earns just $3 million as a first-time arbitration-eligible player in 2013. While his salary isn’t prohibitive for the low-budget Astros, it does make him much more attractive to contending clubs that don’t have much wiggle room in their budget. Norris, just 28, is 6-9 this year, but with a respectable 3.91 ERA.
Norris has been linked to the Orioles, Rangers, Pirates, Phillies, Red Sox, Giants, and Dodgers at varying points this season. His team control and relatively low salary make him attractive to clubs looking to win both this season and beyond. Because the interest is so high, the Astros are said to asking for a pair of top prospects in return, which, at this point, has proven too expensive a price for clubs to meet.
Veras, 32, is in his first season as a closer and has done a fine job at the end of games for Houston. He’s 0-4 with a 3.16 ERA and 18 saves on the season, but he’s striking out more than a batter per inning and is walking just three batter per nine innings; easily the lowest number of his career. A veteran of eight big league seasons, Veras has appeared in the majors with six different clubs.