Barry Warner: Baseball's back, and a look at the Rockets and NFL

Justin Verlander heads the best rotation in baseball. Elsa/Getty Images

Baseball is back

Excited today as Astros pitchers and catchers report. Justin Verlander spent the weekend at Pebble Beach, as the partner of Jim Crane. The righty heads the best rotation in the Majors.  This year’s Astro team is the favorite to once again go to the World Series.

What a far cry from the 100-plus loss teams of the past.

Agents like Steve Boras and AJ Hinch’s former college teammate, Brodie Van Wagenen, co-head of powerful agency CAA's baseball group, are outraged at the lack of free agent movement.

The Players Association and MLB negotiated the latest Basic Agreement.  Like the NFLPA they were more concerned with the quality of life, like less two-a-days, less training camp in shoulder pads, than present days.

Yu Darvish got $126 million from Cubs in six-year deal. Chump change to previous of season contracts for top pitchers.

Want to look how dumb owners have been in the past? Check out former Yankee star Robinson Cano. Four years into his ten year and $240 million dollar deal he has yet to hit over .300.

All you need to know about the current impasse is Royals Eric Hosmer is looking for an 8 or 9-year deal.   And former Astro JD Martinez is acting like he is insulted by not getting five years, $125 million from the Red Sox as a DH.

On what planet, Mars, Venus or Uranus?

Owners and GM’s finally have awakened and come to their senses.  It’s not collusion, but rather good business in their industry.

Houston Sports Awards

Props to Patti Smith and the folks at the Houston Sports Authority for their first dinner honoring local stars. The star-studded event had the three-great number 34’s, Nolan Ryan, The Dream and Earl Campbell.

Rockets make shrewd moves

Clint Capella had career high 25 rebounds in the win over Denver.  Much of his success during the last two years goes to John Lucas.  The former No. 1 pick of the NBA draft is in charge of player development.

Dr. MIT, Rockets GM Daryl Morey, proved why he is among the shrewdest in all of pro sports.

For the first time in 11 years he sits out the trade deadline.  Then follows with the signing of vet Joe Johnson, 36, who is averaging 7.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He is a seven-time All-Star and has played 16 seasons in the NBA. The Rockets have been after him for years, but there was never enough cap space for Morey the Magician to make it happen.

He followed that by signing 30-year-old Brandon Wright after a buyout deal by the Grizzlies.  The Rockets will be in Minnesota going for their ninth win in a row against Jimmy Butler and the Wolves.

The NBA trading deadline was like a roller coaster.  The defacto GM of the Cavs, Le Bron James got several young guys to play with. Isiah Thomas, who never seemed to recover from hip surgery, is now a Laker.

Things got worse for the once proud Knicks, when they lost their star Kristaps Porzingis. The 7-3 star from Latvia has thrived as the team’s main man with the departure of Carmelo Anthony, averaging 22.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and a league-leading 2.4 blocks per game this season.

Some thoughts on the NFL

Which Texans would start for the Eagles?

The only offensive player would be De Andre Hopkins.

On defense, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus, Bernardrick McKinney and after next year linebacker Zach Cunningham will join that list.

Never met Jermaine Every, who writes an NFL column here.  But the top priority in a thin free agent market is the offensive line. Brian Gaine needs to trade up and get an experienced offensive tackle, then fill in the bottom rounds.  Andrew Norwell will be too expensive.  Do not be shocked if the Texans re-sign Xavier Su-a Filo.

Memo to Fred Faour: do NOT trade JD Clowney.  But package Will Fuller in a deal.

Bad move, Josh

Josh McDaniel’s classless pulling out of Colts gig hurt more than just his reputation.

I understand it was a family decision but last-minute decisions from man who has made so many rights calls for the Patriots... does that carry over to making the correct call for other families he had hired? Controversial Colts owner Jim Irsay agreed to pay three assistant coaches the Mc Daniels wanted, but never officially signed contracts.

Classy move.




Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and the sister show Ball Control. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows at or!

Another week has come and gone in the world of wrestling and there was a lot of changes and waves made this week.

In Raw, Braun Stroman was stripped of his title match for making a rather formidable display of strength by flipping a limousine over onto its side. It was incredibly impressive, even as a bit as Braun has been recovering from elbow surgery and this sort of proves physically he is back and that is bad news for whomever gets in front of him. Rising out of the ashes of that now dead match was a fatal four way where the haircut-needing walking myth himself John Cena passed the torch to one Finn Balor, the first ever WWE Universal Champion who relinquished his title due to injury. The intercontinental title passing to Bobby Lashley was an odd turn considering all three men - Lashley, Rollins and Ambrose - involved in that match now have held the title in the last month. There were still some corny bits, some scripted almost nudity from still injured Alexa Bliss resulting in the best eye roll in history from Renee Young, but they were balanced by the announcement of a women's tag team division, finally.

On Smackdown, the ship keeps feeling like it's listing, like the show is moving in the wrong direction somehow. The opening with Becky Lynch was amazing, the building of her character into this massive star has been incredible and more of this is what Smackdown needs. She opened her match with a massive throat punch that shows a kind of cocky dominance Smackdown as a whole is lacking, a feeling that some of these guys are truly legendary badasses. The Mandy Rose wants to ruin a marriage storyline continues for some reason and yet again Naomi and Mandy came to blows with no resolution. When will it end? The show overall was flat but it did end with a Shane McMahon coast to coast, leaping cake in the face on Shamus.

The WWE has started the process of introducing some new talent, with Nicki Cross involved in a three on three women's tag team match on Raw and with Heavy Machinery -a tag team- playing comic relief and Lacey Evans standing around sipping tea, not an exaggeration at all. Hopefully these three can do more than reorganize the deck chairs on what is starting to feel like The USS Smackdown post iceberg, but only time will tell.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome