Astros' asking price is high on Bud Norris, but is it unreasonable?

Bud Norris is a name heard often in trade rumors, and he might not excite anyone at first blush.

But that doesn't mean he comes cheap. The Astros have sought two top prospects back in trade, according to rival GMs.

That sounds like a lot, but considering the scarcity of starters available in a deep sellers' market, it may not be quite as unreasonable an asking price as one might imagine.

Norris, who is 6-8 with a 3.63 ERA, fits somewhere into the upper echelon of available starters with Matt Garza and Yovani Gallardo, and he might look enticing to a contender, especially if top starters such as Cliff Lee remain unavailable. Norris has a few big plusses: Beyond the fact he's pitching in the American League, he makes only $3 million this year and has two more years to go before he can become a free agent.

Astros people suggest there's no need for them to trade Norris since their payroll is low (below $30 million) and his salary is more than fair. But he's definitely being discussed in trades, and rivals suggest it makes sense since Houston may not be a contender until 2016. In fact, some speculate he could be the next starter to go.

"Garza is the biggest immediate impact guy and Norris is the best long value guy,'' one rival GM said.

With that in mind, maybe the ask on Norris isn't quite as shocking as it seems.

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