The Orioles acquired righthander Bud Norris and international spending money from the Astros in exchange for outfielder L.J. Hoes, lefthander Josh Hader and a supplemental first-round pick in the 2014 draft, a deal that makes sense for both clubs. Baltimore lands a needed mid-rotation starter and one who won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, while Houston gets more building blocks for the future.
The Orioles won the second pick in the supplemental first round in the competitive-balance lottery two weeks ago. As of now, it would be No. 33 overall (subject to change depending on selections that are created or disappear based on free-agent signings). In 2013, the No. 33 choice carried an assigned value of $1,650,100.
The Astros sent their fourth international bonus slot, No. 91 overall, to the Orioles in the deal. The slot carries a value of $213,000, which puts Baltimore’s international pool at $1,710, 600. Houston has parted with three of its initial four international slots, costing them $997,700 of spending potential, though they still have a total pool of nearly $4 million thanks to their position at No. 1.
L.J. Hoes, lf/rf
Age: 23 Bats: R
Career Transactions: Selected by Orioles in third round of 2008 draft; signed June 14, 2008
A third-round pick out of a Washington, D.C., high school in 2008, Hoes has proven his ability to hit for average in the minors but hasn’t been able to crack Baltimore’s big league roster. He has gotten just four at-bats for the Orioles, all coming in the last two years. Hoes’ strengths are making consistent contact and getting on base, as he has hit .302 with a .391 on-base percentage and nearly as many walks (92) as strikeouts (99) in Triple-A during the last two seasons. He’s more of a tweener than a regular outfielder, however, because he has below-average power (.400 slugging percentage) and lacks the defensive chops to play center. He has average speed and arm strength and is capable of manning either outfield corner.
Josh Hader, lhp
Career Transactions: Selected by Orioles in 19th round of 2012 draft; signed June 21, 2012
The Orioles stole Hader in the 19th round of the 2012 draft, signing the Maryland high school product for $40,000 the day after he impressed GM Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter in a prep showcase. His fastball sat mostly in the mid-80s during his senior season, but Hader now works at 88-91 mph and has hit 94. There’s more projection remaining in his skinny 6-foot-3 frame, too. As a tall southpaw who works from a low three-quarters angle, he draws some physical comparisons to Chris Sale. Like most young pitchers, Hader has a lengthy to-do list, and his includes improving the consistency of his slider, changeup and command. If he can do that, he’s a potential No. 3 starter.
Bud Norris, rhp
Remaining Commitment: Prorated portion of $3 million salary for 2013, then arbitration-eligible for 2014 and ’15.
Norris isn’t an ace and his strikeout rate has dipped to a career-low 6.4 per nine innings in 2013, but he’s a durable starter who averaged nearly a whiff per inning in his first three full major league seasons. His most effective pitch is his slider, which he sets up with a low-90s fastball. He’ll probably slot in as Baltimore’s No. 4 starter.