Houston Astros bolster bullpen in Royals swap

TRADE ALERT!

The Houston Astros were in need of some serious help in the bullpen with Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Ryne Stanek likely leaving this year in free agency.

While some fans were getting concerned about the quiet offseason, the club has made two moves this week to get the ball rolling.

First the team signed Victor Caratini to be the backup catcher, and now they have added some relief pitching.

The Astros traded pitching prospect Carlos Mateo to the Royals for RHP pitcher Dylan Coleman.

Coleman is under club control for the next several years, and made just over $700,000 in 2022. With the Astros right up against the tax threshold, this is a good way to add to the bullpen without having to hand out a large contract.

The Royals had a tough roster decision to make with Coleman, and the Astros made the decision easy for them by making the trade.

Something to note

There's a reason Kansas City wasn't determined to protect Coleman from the Rule 5 Draft. Despite his decent numbers over the last three seasons, 2023 was a rough year for him, posting an 8.84 ERA over 23 games.

In fact, Coleman pitched more innings (30.2) for the Royals AAA team than he did for the big league club (18.1) in 2023.

Hopefully, the Astros can get him back on track this season with some help from their highly touted player development program.

You can watch some of his 2022 highlights above.

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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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