Texans Free Agency: Day One

Jermaine Every: Texans frugally fill holes on roster

Seantrel Henderson said goodbye to the Bills and hello to the Texans. Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Houston Texans had approximately $60 million dollars in salary cap space to spend this offseason. The fact that they’re extremely limited on draft picks and have a ton of holes to fill, it makes free agent signings that much more critical to putting a winner on the field every Sunday. They need to be more Jose Altuve when signing guys as opposed to Brian McCann. With Day One of the free agent signing period nearing it’s end, here’s a look at the Texans’ haul so far:

Offensive Guard Senio Kelemete

I wrote about this move mid-February and guesstimated a deal averaging $2.5-3.5 million per. They signed him to a three-year deal worth $12 million dollars, with $5.5 million guaranteed. Kelemete was versatile as a backup for the New Orleans Saints. At 27 years old entering his sixth season, this was a very low-risk, high-reward signing that should pan out for the Texans. Literally anything would’ve been better than Xavier Su’a-Filo! I expect Kelemete to step in and start from day one at guard, but he’s also had some experience playing tackle.

Offensive Guard Zach Fulton

While it’s being widely reported, this signing isn’t official as of yet, but could soon be. But I find it hard to believe that another team will swoop in and sign Fulton to a better deal than the reported $7.5 million dollar per year average the Texans are reportedly offering. Fulton performed well as a Kansas City Chief in four seasons. At 27 years old, Fulton has room to grow and improve much like Kelemete. This signing, along with Kelemete, shored up the guard position.

Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson

Henderson was once the No. 1 high school football recruit in the country when he committed to the University of Miami out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s 26 years old entering his fifth season. Henderson was drafted in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills because he admitted to using marijuana to help cope with the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. G.M. Brian Gaine knows Henderson from his time in Buffalo, so I’m confident he wouldn’t have signed Henderson had he felt this would be an issue. The one year deal worth up to $4 million dollars shows it’s more of a “prove it” deal, than a vote of confidence long-term deal. Again, anything would’ve been better than Chris Clark.

Cornerback Aaron Colvin

Cornerback was another position of need for the Texans. Perhaps it was exacerbated by the Jacksonville Jaguars signing former Texan A.J. Bouye last offseason, so they returned the favor by signing former Jag Colvin…? Definitely not an even exchange of talent, but an improvement in a position of need nonetheless. Colvin is 26 years old entering his fifth season, but has ZERO career interceptions! This isn’t indicative of his playmaking ability because he could’ve been asked to do some different things. However, it is alarming for the position. The four year deal is worth up to $34 million dollars with $18 million guaranteed. Colvin will be a welcomed addition if the pass rush is up to par.

The day isn’t over, neither is free agency. There are also the designated June 1 cuts which could provide more solid vets to hit the market. Another defensive back, offensive lineman, backup quarterback, linebacker depth, running back, and wide receiver are still needed. There’s more work to do for sure. But this was a good start to a disadvantaged offseason. Being frugal has its advantages, especially when you spend low and get a high return on an investment.

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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