Jussel: A new Bud would not have been costly for Rox

The Baltimore Orioles picked up starting pitcher Bud Norris on Wednesday in a trade with the Houston Astros.

To get Norris, the O’s gave up young outfielder L.J. Hoes, who is on the cusp of a Major League career after five years in the minors, and another pitching prospect, Josh Hader, who is riding buses and toiling in Class A ball.

Norris isn’t Cy Young.

What he is, though, is a 28-year-old who has a career ERA of 4.33, comes cheaply at $3 million per, and has one more season to go on his contract. He has spent his career eating innings on a terrible Astro team, getting about one strikeout per inning while allowing one hit per inning.

Norris isn’t Don Drysdale.

What he could have been, should have been, however, is one helluva fourth or fifth starter in the Colorado Rockies’ rotation the rest of this season and, yes, next season.

Now he’s in Baltimore for two minor league players, one of whom may turn out to be a regular outfielder for the Astros but more likely will be a utility player, and one of whom may turn out to be a starting pitcher in another two or three seasons, if everything works out perfectly.

Norris isn’t Tom Seaver nor Greg Maddux.

But, for comparison’s sake, let’s say for outfielder Cory Dickerson and Single-A pitching prospect Tyler Anderson, he’s also not a Rockie.

Bill Geivett, the team’s assistant general manager, tried to explain away the team’s lack of action Thursday, saying, “We are happy with our core group of players and ... we did not want to mortgage some of our future when the cost is so high to acquire talent.”

Mortgage the future?

The team has been looking for a fifth starter for what seems like an eternity.

Norris wasn’t going to cost anything that mortgaged the future.

What he would have cost was only a slightly better offer than Baltimore made.

Didn’t happen.

And once more, we are left to wonder why.

TIME TO PANIC
OVER BRONCO INJURIES?

The headline on the CBS Sports website read, “Broncos hit again: Rodgers-Cromartie carted off.”

Yes, it is becoming a bit redundant, this injury bug biting.

But, and this is a huge BUT, the Broncos are going to be just fine, thank you.

For one thing, the only injury that would cost immediately in the win-loss column would be to You-Know-Who.

Everyone else is a replaceable part, even Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the cornerback who sprained an ankle and is expected to miss two to three weeks of training camp.

Remember, training camp is way longer than need be. Missing some of it, even most of it, will not impact the regular season.

Let’s also think about what the Broncos have become in the last year-plus: They are deep and getting deeper with each muscle pull or sprain as young talent gets a chance to get more reps in practice and become more comfortable playing with the starting unit.

True, center Dan Koppen’s injury was an eye-opener, but as Bronco head coach John Fox pointed out, Manny Ramirez has been and still is the starting center in camps. And the team didn’t panic, instead finding replacements to at least compete for the starting job in free agent Steve Vallos and the retired Ryan Lilja.

Yes, Denver has had injury problems in camp, as has virtually every NFL team.

But when we look at the depth chart as camp opened, the only regular who likely won’t be playing is linebacker Von Miller.

And that won’t be because of that nasty old injury bug.

Rick Jussel is a former Daily Sentinel sports editor (think Dark Ages) and Grand Junction High School journalism teacher who belongs in the Armchair Quarterback Hall of Fame, if only there was one.

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