The Astros' two main trading chips starting pitcher Bud Norris and reliever Jose Veras are drawing considerable interest according to sources.

The likelihood would seem to be that both veteran players are traded from the also-ran team as last-place Houston which has done an excellent job gathering prospects lately continues to shoot for 2015 and beyond. The Astros have said they don't have to trade Norris as his $3-million salary isn't onerous but it should also increase his desirability to other teams.

On the other hand if they finish with the worst record the Astros wrap up a third straight No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft -- not that they'd prefer losing. Carlos Rodon a top lefthander out of North Carolina State is seen as the likely plum of the draft.

Teams believed to have shown interest in Norris at some point include the Red Sox Pirates Phillies Rangers Giants Dodgers and Orioles -- though Texas has acquired Matt Garza Baltimore Scott Feldman and the Dodgers Ricky Nolasco while the Phillies and Giants still have to decide whether they are in the race. An AL West team probably should be as Norris is 3-0 with a 0.32 ERA against the Angels but only 6-9 with a 3.91 ERA overall. Going into his start today though he's been roughed up in two straight going 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA