Astros have at least 3 strong reasons for a no-brainer decision at key position

Astros have at least 3 strong reasons for a no-brainer decision at key position
The Astros' rotation is strong enough as is. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

So, are you more of a glass half-full person or more of a glass half-empty person? For the optimistic glass half-full membership: Only six more weeks until spring training opens! For the pessimistic glass half-empty crowd: Ugh. Six more weeks until spring training opens! Even with the Texans wrapping up a third straight pathetic season this weekend and the Rockets in the midst of their third straight pathetic season, the optimists have it right. Especially after the sturm and drang of a year ago when everything was delayed by collective bargaining negotiations.

We are in the midst of the generally quietest stretch of the offseason. Most of the heavy lifting of free agency is done (the Carlos Correa saga notwithstanding), and while there is certainly still the possibility of a blockbuster trade or two in the next month and change, most clubs pretty much have the makings of their 2023 rosters in place. The Astros are the American League favorites as is, making it that much more eyebrow raising that somehow they’ve been mentioned among teams as a possible landing spot for pitcher Trevor Bauer should the Dodgers cut ties with him. Of course, anyone can chuck anything against the wall these days. Never say never but I’d be stunned if the Astros signed Trevor Bauer.

Bauer has been reinstated after serving a 194 game suspension over sexual assault allegations. The lurid details that made it to the public domain were quite disturbing. Bauer was never charged with a crime, not that that is proof of innocence. The Dodgers have a Friday deadline to reinstate Bauer to their roster or release him. Either way they will owe him 22 million dollars for the coming season.

Bauer last pitched in a game June 28 2021. He was having an excellent season for the Dodgers after winning the National League Cy Young Award as a Cincinnati Red in the 2020 60 game COVID season. Bauer turns 32 years old in a couple of weeks. His talent is unquestioned. It’s not like he missed the last season and a half because of Tommy John surgery or a torn rotator cuff. The argument for signing him would be “Talent wins. You can never have enough pitching. Bauer served his punishment and is eligible to play for any team.” The argument against signing him would be “Isn’t it obvious?”

Astros’ fans should refrain from any “My team would never sign a guy like Bauer” sanctimoniousness. Jim Crane certainly signed off on the Astros’ 2018 trade for pitcher Roberto Osuna. Then General Manager Jeff Luhnow made the deal acquiring a “distressed asset” with the Toronto Blue Jays wanting nothing more to do with Osuna after a 75 game suspension that Osuna accepted for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. A suspension over which the Players Association filed no grievance (in contrast to Bauer’s case). Osuna blew out his arm in 2020 and the Astros non-tendered him. He pitched 2021 in Mexico and began the 2022 season there before going to the Japan League’s Chiba Lotte Marines. Osuna excelled in both Mexico and Japan, still hasn’t turned 28 years old, and no Major League team has touched him.

I’m not saying in absolute terms that no one should sign Trevor Bauer, but the Houston Astros should not. With Justin Verlander gone, Cristian Javier yet to start for a full season, and Lance McCullers often seeming an injury waiting to happen, yes the Astros’ outstanding starting pitching depth could fray. But presently they have Javier, McCullers, Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, and Jose Uruidy, with top prospect Hunter Brown pounding on the door to join the rotation. In purely baseball terms, signing Bauer would make sense if the Astros had a move ready including, say, Garcia, in a trade to the Pirates for centerfielder Bryan Reynolds. Signing Bauer would not be a purely baseball decision. Pass. If he was to sign with the Angels or Rangers, flourish, and help one of those teams contend with the Astros in the AL West, so be it.

Did you know we have a new Astros podcast?

Stone Cold ‘Stros is the weekly Astro-centric podcast I take part in with Brandon Strange and Josh Jordan. On our regular schedule it airs live at 3PM Monday on the SportsMapHouston YouTube channel, is available there for playback at any point, and also becomes available in podcast form at outlets galore.

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How Texans' CJ Stroud got the last laugh on Panthers entire organization

When Bryce Young and CJ Stroud were drafted with the first two picks of the NFL Draft, we knew they would be compared to one another for years to come.

And here we are just 11 games into the season and one quarterback has already seen his head coach fired. Panthers owner David Tepper spoke to the media on Wednesday and discussed his decision to fire Frank Reich, and also set the record straight on how they arrived at the decision to draft Young.

In so many words, Tepper basically blamed the Texans for how the top of the draft played out. He mentioned Stroud by name and said the Panthers were ready to draft him at No. 2 overall until the Texans backed out of the three-team trade with the Bears.

Tepper made a point of saying everyone in their building had Bryce Young as the top player on their draft board, despite rumors about Frank Reich preferring Stroud.

CJ Stroud and the Texans have been so much better than Bryce Young and the Panthers that Tepper clearly felt it was necessary to defend himself, and the decisions he's made for the organization.

In the end, the person that gets the worst end of the deal is Bryce Young. Coaching changes can be very difficult on young quarterbacks. And it looks like he'll have to learn a new offense in his second year when the Panthers hire a new coaching staff.

How fortunate we are as Texans fans to have DeMeco Ryans and CJ Stroud leading the team moving forward.

With all of this in mind, is there a reason Texans fans haven't fully bought in to the new-look Texans? JJ Watt was a guest on The Pat McAfee Show this week and was asked about the team's inability to fill the stadium on Sundays.

As a former player for the Colts, McAfee always thought Houston had the loudest and best fans in the NFL. And while the Texans are 9th in attendance this year according to ESPN, even CJ Stroud has asked for the fans to fill the stadium.

So there is something to it. You can see the empty seats in photos. So why aren't the Texans packing NRG with a shiny new franchise QB?

We believe the recent history of the team is why fans are slowly coming back. McAfee wasn't here for:

Bill O'Brien cussing at fans during games

Trading DeAndre Hopkins away for next to nothing

The Jack Easterby disaster

Deshaun Watson allegedly blaming ownership for why he wanted out

The Deshaun Watson scandal

Firing back-to-back coaches after one season, and the list goes on.

Don't miss the video above for the full conversation!

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