How MLB report could point to shifting Houston Astros philosophies

ASTROS HOT STOVE

Astros GM Dana Brown has recently discussed how the club is going to approach free agency on the team's flagship station, and based on his comments, it doesn't sound the Astros are going to spend a lot of money.

He mentioned being “creative” with their strategy and maybe exploring some trade possibilities. Which is why we were surprised to hear from Jon Heyman that the Astros may have interest in Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, or another “elite” starting pitcher.

With the team right up against the tax threshold, a signing like this would certainly push them over, unless they find a way to dump some salary that's already on the books.

But the report that Houston is looking for an elite starter, certainly caught our attention. Mainly, because Dana Brown's comments about backup catcher and bullpen help being the priority, with starting pitching being more of a pipe dream considering the budget constraints.

A move like this would likely require someone like Alex Bregman being traded to make the money work. So is Jon Heyman off the mark with this report, or is Dana Brown quietly looking to add an elite starter?

Plus, just this week the Phillies signed Aaron Nola to a 7-year $172 million contract. Framber Valdez is looking for a long-term deal with 2 years remaining of club control. Will Framber's agent use this contract as a benchmark for what is client is looking for?

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Mike Evans is returning to the Bucs. Composite Getty Image.

We are exactly one week away from when the legal tampering period begins in the NFL, when agents and teams are allowed to begin negotiations. Deals cannot become official until the new league year begins next Wednesday, but we often hear about contracts being agreed upon within the first few hours of legal tampering.

The Houston Texans have been connected to Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans. Over the weekend, KPRC's Aaron Wilson reported that the Texans were not likely to pursue Evans.

Now, we'll never know for sure if the Texans were looking to make a run at Evans, as he has agreed to a 2-year, $52 million contract with Tampa Bay on Monday.

Will this keep the Texans from signing a receiver?

Not necessarily, but the top options that could have been available are becoming less likely to reach free agency. The Bengals are using the franchise tag on Tee Higgins. Colts GM Chris Ballard has made it clear Michael Pittman isn't going anywhere.

The top receivers available in free agency now could come down to Jaguars' Calvin Ridley, Cardinals' Marquise Brown, and Bills' Gabe Davis to a lesser extent.

However, the Jags could bring back Ridley, and Brown isn't a lock to leave in free agency either. It's looking more and more like the Texans will be better off upgrading the position in the NFL Draft. Especially after some eye-opening performances at the NFL Combine this weekend.

It's also important to keep in mind that Tank Dell, Nico Collins, John Metchie, and Robert Woods are currently under contract for 2024. They could also look to bring back Noah Brown.

As for Barkley, we fully expect the Texans to add some depth at running back. But Barkley won't come cheap, and this could be another position the team will address in the draft.

And don't be surprised if they elect to bring back Devin Singletary after DeMeco's Ryans' ringing endorsement of him last week.

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