Wednesday, July 31, 2013

O's Before Hoes

Go ahead folks, make your jokes. Get them all out now because they won’t be topical tomorrow. Get all of your “Hoes in different area codes” jokes out of the way.  Use up all your “Hoes-for-Bud” punchlines.  Make all of your “Stros Got Hoes” quips before they dry up quicker than Ludacris’s rapping career.

In case you missed it, the Baltimore Orioles just acquired right handed starting pitcher Bud Norris from the Houston Astros for OF prospect L.J. Hoes, LHP Josh Hader, and a Comp B. Pick in 2014.

In the limited amount of the time that this trade became official there has been some serious backlash from Birdland.  Needless to say, I am a bit perplexed by the backlash.  This is a good deal for the Birds for the simple fact that anytime you can pick up a Big League Starting Pitcher for a 4th Outfielder, you do it. Period.

Before getting into premature reactulation, lets look at what the Birds got and what they gave up.  First and foremost lets meet the dude they call Bud.

Bud Norris is 28 and will be under the Orioles control until 2016.  The RHP is 6-9 this year on a historically bad Houston Astros ball club with a 3.93 ERA.  While some of you may scoff at that ERA, just know that Jason Hammel (the man Norris is effectively replacing) would give anything for an ERA under 5.  Norris is a serviceable arm who hopefully will see his W-L get a nice boost once he joins a winning ball club.  Bud Norris allegedly has a very respectable xFIP (some sabremetric stat).  The sabremetricians also created a stat called WAR (Wins Above Replacement), and Norris has a WAR of 1.9. But if he’s replacing someone like Jason Hammel than his WAR could potentially be 745.  I could be wrong on these numbers and the exact meaning of WAR, but just like most sabremetrics, frankly I don’t give a BUCK.

Norris will hopefully stabilize the back end of the Orioles pitching rotation and help eat some innings down the stretch.  Scott Feldman and his 5.15 ERA has not exactly been what The Duke thought he was trading for, so even though Bud Norris isn’t the biggest name pitcher, he can only help.

The main piece that the Orioles gave up was OF L.J. Hoes.  There is a soft spot in the fanbase for L.J. because he is from the DMV and was raised in the O’s farm system. Last year’s organizational Minor League Player of the Year, L.J. Hoes put up a slash of .304/.406/.403 with seven stolen bases in 99 games this season in Triple-A Norfolk.  However, he was realistically projected as a 4th outfielder for the Orioles in the future.  His impact was never considered to be on the everyday level.  His major asset to the ball club was in his role today, a viable trade chip.

The Orioles also gave up former 19th round pick Josh Hader, a LHP project from Old Mill.  Hader has seen his velocity JUMP over the last year but his shaky command, medical issues, and raw feel for a breaking ball made him a major project.  However, his projectable build, big frame, power arm, and his system leading 2.65 ERA this summer with Delmarva, have him labeled with high upside.  My argument is that upside will not help the 2013 Orioles win, but Bud Norris can.

Whether or not this trade was a good one for the Orioles will not be known for quite sometime, but in the meantime the negative reaction is borderline unnecessary.  Acquiring a pitcher like Bud Norris may not make your balls twinkle like say, Cliff Lee, but maybe Bud Norris is the guy to score the O’s a few extra wins and leapfrog them into another October run.  And regardless, it is still nice to be buyers instead of sellers this time of year.  The Duke has made three moves this July and will look to add more in August.  So Birdland, this Bud’s for you.

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