How moves by Astros GM could shine light on Dusty Baker's future in Houston

Dusty may not be long for Houston. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

There's nothing more enjoyable than a good pissing match or struggle for power in a sports team's hierarchy. Whether it's a coach, general manager, or others, it's fun to see how things play out. What's not fun is when it's your team, and/or things get ugly. The best situations to watch are the ones where things get petty!

This seemingly played out at MLB's trade deadline when Astros general manager James Click traded outfielder Myles Straw for more bullpen help, but didn't replace him. Instead, the move appeared to have been made to get Chas McCormick more playing time. Perhaps it was a move made to call up Jake Meyers from Sugar Land. Maybe, it was as simple as shoring up one of the worst areas on a contending team. Or maybe, just maybe, it was Click's way of showing manager Dusty Baker who's winning the pissing match.

Dusty is an old school baseball guy who is seemingly embracing some analytics. Click is a full on analytics guy. These opposing viewpoints might have clashed when it came to McCormick getting more time. Dusty wanted to play Straw because he's the better defensive player, while McCormick has the type of pop that warrants as many at bats as he can get. Perhaps Dusty refused to play McCormick more, so Click traded him. That level of petty is much appreciated by people like me!

Sometimes, we do things that hurt ourselves and need to be saved. Every so often, someone will save us and we don't want to be saved. This seems to be the case in this instance. Dusty was too stubborn, so Click made a move to force his hand. This also shows me that I don't think Dusty will be long for Houston. While this duo is making it work for now, I think a parting of the ways will be best served for all parties involved. Click will be able to hire a manager he's more in tuned with, and Dusty can possibly ride of into the sunset with a World Series ring as a parting gift. It is the last year of his deal and no extension talks have taken place.

The prevailing thought is that bench coach Joe Espada has been groomed to take over once Dusty moves along. That would be a good move in my opinion. Or, Click will get to go through the hiring process and find a candidate he thinks is suitable. Either way, this team is still built to contend and will hopefully get a new manager that works well with Click and can bring more of the approach Click wants in the dugout. While Dusty has proven to be the type of manager this team needed to get through the cheating scandal fallout, it could be time for a new approach. Would winning a World Series change things? I don't think so. Dusty is older and pretty amicable. I'm sure they'd work something out to where they can part ways without things getting ugly. Dusty was always a transition guy. Now it's time to finally make that move and help usher in the next phase of this Astros dynasty.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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