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NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley joined ESPN Houston's Joel Blank on SportsMap Houston to discuss the Houston Rockets rebuild, building through the draft, and Houston's reported interest in Damian Lillard.

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Everything is coming into focus. Composite Getty Image.

The 2024 season certainly hasn't begun like the Astros would have hoped, and the club is currently 8.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners in the AL West.

And while the play on the field certainly hasn't been up to par, what's going on behind the scenes is what has Astros fans the most curious.

How does the Astros power structure really work? Is GM Dana Brown really the one calling the shots? Based on what we've seen since Brown was hired, the answer is clearly no.

For what we can tell, Brown's main focus is replenishing the club's farm system. And that's a role he's highly qualified for, but his title calls for a lot more than that. He should be the main voice in the room, not just one of the many voices in the room.

The Athletic's Keith Law recently gave an interview on ESPN Houston, and said the common consensus across the league is Jim Crane is running things, and he's one of the most active owners in baseball.

Which goes along with the narrative most believe in Houston, Jeff Bagwell has Crane's ear, and that's how decisions are being made.

This goes back to when former GM James Click was allegedly pushed out the door because he didn't see eye-to eye with Dusty Baker. And that was after winning a World Series. That's when the Jim Crane-Jerry Jones comparisons starting gaining momentum.

And now it's fair to wonder if Baker was taking orders from above, and now Joe Espada is in the same predicament. Which would explain the nightmare at first base with Jose Abreu playing almost every game.

Why the secrecy?

The Astros have a strange policy with injuries. Just recently, Houston refused to acknowledge that Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy were set to have elbow surgery and would be out for the season. Even after reports to the contrary surfaced.

And yet, there was an article on the Astros.com website reporting that exact same news about Javier and Urquidy being done for the year. The Astros would then confirm the surgeries not long after.

Yet, when Kyle Tucker fouled a ball off his shin, we found out that night that the X-rays were negative. And there are plenty more examples of this, we just don't have the time to document them all here.

There just doesn't seem to be any consistency, and when the team is losing, it's not hard to irritate the fanbase.

Don't miss the video above as we examine the Astros power structure, try to make sense of their curious stance on reporting injuries, and much more.

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and Charlie Pallilo discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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