“Baltimore's lineup is probably better than Boston's,” one longtime American League executive says. “I never thought I'd say that, because Boston is such an offensive-oriented club. But you look at Baltimore's lineup, especially two through seven, guys like Matt Wieters, Brian Roberts, J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Chris Davis … that's pretty good. That's a formidable lineup.”

 

** Not all of the reviews were glowing for the Orioles. In selecting his top performing teams at the deadline, MLB.com columnist Anthony Castrovince had the Astros as one of his winners, but not the O’s.

“You could put the Orioles here, because, among the more budget-conscious clubs on the buy side, right-hander Bud Norris stood out as one of the more tantalizing trade chips available. He's young enough (28), cheap enough ($3 million salary this season), controlled enough (two more arbitration years before free agency) and versatile enough (some scouts feel he could shift to a prominent relief role, if need be) that he certainly has value,” Castrovince wrote.

“But let's be honest. The late-developing trade between the O's and Astros is a win for Houston because GM Jeff Luhnow and Co. got to take advantage of a weak market in which Norris, whose career adjusted ERA trends more toward fourth or fifth starter on a contender, had an uptick in trade value.”

 

** Baseball America’s Jim Callis broke down what the Orioles gave up in the deal, including a lofty comparison for Hader.

“[Hoes is] more of a tweener than a regular outfielder … because he has below-average power (.400 slugging percentage) and lacks the defensive chops to play center. He has average speed and arm strength and is capable of manning either outfield corner,” Callis wrote.

“The Orioles stole Hader in the 19th round of the 2012 draft, signing the Maryland high school product for $40,000 the day after he impressed GM Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter in a prep showcase. His fastball sat mostly in the mid-80s during his senior season, but Hader now works at 88-91 mph and has hit 94. There’s more projection remaining in his skinny 6-foot-3 frame, too. As a tall southpaw who works from a low three-quarters angle, he draws some physical comparisons to Chris Sale. Like most young pitchers, Hader has a lengthy to-do list, and his includes improving the consistency of his slider, changeup and command. If he can do that, he’s a potential No. 3 starter.”

 

** One quick view from the Houston perspective: In the story about the trade posted on the Astros’ team website, Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow mentions to Brian McTaggart that there were six teams competing for Norris with three pushing harder at the end.

Luhnow also discussed why he was so high on Hoes.

"I have the advantage of having been a scouting director and scouted lots of these players when they were in high school," Luhnow said. "L.J. Hoes is a guy I've always liked. He's athletic, played second base for a while, but plays all three outfield positions now.”

 

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