Early this week, the Houston Astros will formulate a game plan as to how to approach their veteran assets. Teams are already calling about Bud Norris, a cheap ($3 million) solution to any contender’s rotation.

Cheap in salary, but he won’t be cheap in acquisition cost.

The Astros are willing to deal him, but they realize he’s their biggest chip, and the price tag will reflect it.

The Orioles, Giants, and Pirates have kicked around the idea of acquiring Norris, but according to one National League executive there will be about a dozen teams interested before all is said and done.

Now that the draft is over, there’s more focus on what teams can do to acquire that one missing piece to their starting rotations. There has been no one more aggressive in his pursuit for pitching than Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette, who has a good, competitive team, but knows that one veteran starter could make all the difference.

It hasn’t been that often over the years that Giants GM Brian Sabean has had to seek a pitcher, but that’s certainly the case this season with Ryan Vogelsong on the disabled list and Barry Zito struggling on the road.

Matt Cain has pitched much better in his last eight starts and is getting closer to the dominant Cain.

Sabean, known for his strong work in acquiring in-season positional help (Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro), now will turn his attention toward finding pitching help.

There’s always “the list” of pitchers who might become available, but it doesn’t always happen that they actually are available. Sometimes the player acquisition cost is prohibitive. Sometimes the salary restraints make it impossible.

Could the Orioles afford Cliff Lee’s $25 million salary? Well, that’s the type of restraint we’re referring to, which is why Norris becomes so valuable.