Leaked Message Indicates Philadelphia Phillies Considered Trading For Bud Norris


Jul 9, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher

Bud Norris

(20) throws to a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

After a series of internal messages were anonymously leaked from the Houston Astros organization this morning (but first noticed by Deadspin), it was revealed that the Philadelphia Phillies considered trading for Bud Norris, formerly of the Houston Astros, last July at the Trade Deadline.

"7/22/2013 – “[Jeff Luhnow] told [Ruben Amaro] that we would consider Aaron Altherr. [Amaro] said that seemed like a reasonable ask and he was still evaluating where he was. He would get back to us.”"

It is unclear what Amaro’s response was after their internal evaluation, but ceding that a player is a “reasonable ask” given the reported tightly-guarded nature these kinds of talks, it sounds very much like a willingness to move Altherr.

Obviously, the trade never materialized, but it is interesting that the Phillies were in on a player (Norris) so tied to the buyer’s market last summer. Despite being out of the race by the trade deadline, the team didn’t make any moves on the day itself – settling for waiver wire trades of Michael Young (to the Dodgers) and John McDonald (to the Red Sox) in August.

The interest in Norris isn’t as worrisome as I initially felt it was – he’s a young, cheap starter with over two seasons of team control remaining (at the time). Had the team signed him for two-years in the off-season for what he’ll make in arbitration (as a hypothetical possibility), it would have been a good deal.

However, the idea of moving a prospect in the Top-10 range, organizationally, for a pitcher who’s only slightly better and cheaper than Kyle Kendrick, isn’t really appetizing to me.

Additionally, there would certainly be further discussions about second, or even third pieces, coming from the Phillies. That would have put the deal on the shelf for me – and who knows, that might have been what happened here.

In reality, Bud Norris was traded with international bonus pool money to the Baltimore Orioles for L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader, and a Competitive Balance Round A pick in this past year’s draft. The 37th-overall pick by the Astros was OF Derek Fisher from UVA.

Norris is making $5.3 million this season in arbitration, and has performed well for the Orioles, earning 1.3 rWAR with a 4.49 FIP and 1.161 WHIP before suffering a groin injury in mid-June.

Altherr began the season in high-A Clearwater, and was shortly promoted to double-A Reading. After struggling early (.200/.227/.278 in May), he has since hit .323/.382/.538 in June, with 13 XBH, and 4 SB. He had a weekend stint in Philadelphia following Tony Gwynn Jr.’s placement on the bereavement list, but has since returned to Reading.