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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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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