3 pressing Houston Astros questions with Justin Verlander back in the fold

Welcome back, Justin!Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

He's baaaaack! For the second time in six years, the Astros made a last minute trade deadline deal for Justin Verlander. Fans can relax a bit now. The team has made moves for another reliever in Kendall Graveman, and now a frontline starter in Verlander. While there was no trade to add another bat to an inconsistent lineup, this move signals a few things. Here's a look at how they convinced him to come back:

Verlander is back at a time in which this team needs him desperately. Their main competition in the division, the Rangers, just made a deal for Verlander's former teammate Max Scherzer. They are currently tied with the Astros in the AL West and have a potent offense. Now they got an ace to add to their staff. I have thoughts…

Should Verlander have left in the first place?: My initial thought was glad he's back. My next thought was why'd he leave. Jim Crane was determined not to pay him more than what he felt he should. When that number got to be too much, he bowed out and wished JV well in New York. Two years for $86.7 million and a third year at $35 million that vests if Verlander can basically stay upright in the second year was a no-brainer for him. Add that to the fact that they thought the staff would be just fine with all they had, and there's a recipe for a breakup.

Was it a steep price?: Giving up arguably your two best prospects is a steep price. Add to it, they're both outfielders that can really play, and your minor league system has been drained a bit. That makes it that much steeper. Let's add in the fact that Kyle Tucker's price keeps going up by his play, and now by this deal. To take some of the sting out, the Mets are paying a significant portion of Verlander's salary for the balance of the contract. The Astros are only on the hook for about $39 million of Verlander's remaining deal, including the vesting year (Bob is off by 10 million in the tweet below). However, this price is viewed as less steep if a couple of things happen – they need another World Series ring, and/or sign Tucker to a long-term deal. Both would be ideal, especially given that two of Tucker's replacements now wear different colors, but I'll take another ring if I had to pick between the two.

Are they in go for it mode?: After Crane parted ways with former GM James Click, I thought he'd bring in a guy that would share his go hard or go home attitude. Dana Brown doesn't necessarily embody that exact same attitude, but he's got some of it in him. This is the man credited with helping turn the Braves into the contender they are now. He would re-sign their best young players to long-term deals before their price tags got crazy. Crane has never been the one to shy away from making a splash. Click was more about the slow build approach. Now that Crane has a guy in place that doesn't mind swinging for the fences, we see how that goes. To have an owner and GM combo that both want to win big and will do what's necessary to do so, it makes the fan base appreciative of their efforts.

Striking while the iron is still hot is smart. Their window for winning is still open. Giving up two minor leaguers, no matter how much potential they've shown, was the right move. I know we may have a bare cupboard later on, but I'll find solace in those 2017 and 2022 rings. If this falls apart terribly, it'll hurt for sure. I'll wrap myself in my title tee shirts and be okay. So many times we look at the worst case scenario when it comes to trades like this. We pick them apart and find every possible way to criticize them. That, or we get way too excited about outcomes that aren't very likely. I think this one falls somewhere in the middle, but closer to the euphoric feeling. Why? Because this team has done this before and are poised to do it again. They added what they needed. Now we wait…

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After another poor performance from former Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns' season is starting to look like an uphill climb. Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb is out for the year, and Cleveland fans aren't too pleased with the way Watson is playing, especially considering the massive contract extension he signed with the team. And we didn't even get to the off the field drama that comes with Watson.

However, Houston fans are invested in the Browns' season outcome as well, with the Texans holding the Browns' first round pick in 2024, and having sent their own first rounder to the Cardinals in the Will Anderson trade.

So each loss for the Browns, means a better draft pick for the Texans!

For Houston, it looks like they have their QB of the future in CJ Stroud. And he'll be on a less expensive rookie contract for the next several years, giving the Texans more cap space to upgrade the roster.

With all of this in mind, is it fair to question if the Texans dodged a bullet when Watson demanded a trade?

DeMeco Ryans vs. Lovie Smith

Plus, we're only two games into the season, but Lovie Smith's defense was much better (with a similar roster) than what DeMeco Ryans' defense has shown thus far, and DeMeco has the benefit of Will Anderson rushing the QB.

Are the struggles on defense more about the roster GM Nick Caserio has put together, or does this slow start fall on DeMeco?

Don't miss the video above as we break it all down!

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