For the second year in a row, the Baltimore Orioles are in the playoff hunt. In 2013, the team has relied on an offense that is 4th in the major leagues in runs scored. The pitching, however, has struggled and currently has a 4.30 team ERA - 26th in all of baseball.
So, upgrading the starting rotation was definitely a trade deadline target. Although Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez have been good, Jason Hammel has struggled, thus increasing the need for a veteran starter. The 28 year old Norris is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA for Houston this year, while being their most successful starter.
Houston, after dealing outfielder Justin Maxwell just minutes earlier, acquire AAA outfielder LJ Hoes from Baltimore. The 24 year old is hitting .304/.406/.403 for the Norfolk Tides and has spent brief stints in Baltimore the last 2 seasons. He is most likely a 4th outfielder in the big leagues.
Baltimore gives up a solid prospect in Hoes, their compensatory pick, and young lefty Josh Hader, but if they are going to make a run at Tampa and Boston, they needed more quality starting pitching to match up with what those two teams are running out there.
Expect Hoes to fill the spot of Justin Maxwell in Houston as the Astros deal away another one of their regulars, this time their staff ace. Hader is only 19, and the 6'3 lefty is having a good season at Delmarva with a 2.65 ERA in 17 starts but is several years away from the big leagues at best.
On pace for 54 wins coming into today, the 'Stros may not make 50 now. Besides the Baltimore rotation, the big winner here may be Texas, who still has 10 games remaining against what is now essentially a AAA Houston team.