Here's why the Astros should think long and hard about trading for Justin Verlander

The Astros need pitching, and Verlander may become available. Composite Getty Image.

Sports fans are a nostalgic bunch. Take a look through social media posts. The debates are endless about what teams, players, eras, or what have you are the best or are better than others. The eventual “Mount Rushmore” posts will appear asking for the four best in any given category. You'll also see tons of posts and comments about what players they want to bring back to their franchises. Whenever players leave, via trade or free agency, and there's a chance for them to come back, fans will clamor for a reunion.

After last season's World Series win, people thought Jim Crane had to keep the entire band together. General Manager James Click was not retained, and ace of the pitching staff Justin Verlander signed with the Mets. Click was eventually replaced by Dana Brown. Verlander was replaced by other guys who were on the come up. Framber Valdez has stepped up as the new ace. Luis Garcia is out for the season. Jose Urquidy is trying to come back from injury. J.P. France has been a revelation. But have any of these guys truly replaced Verlander?

Simple answer: no. You don't “replace” a Verlander. You can only hope to fill his shoes enough that you don't trip over yourself walking in them. While the Astros have done an admirable job, his spot in the rotation has been missed. Injuries have compounded his absence. Garcia and Urquidy both went down early. While Hunter Brown and France have stepped up, they aren't the sure thing taking the bump every five or six days. Verlander is a future Hall of Famer, who at 40 years old, is still on top of his game.

So is a reunion even possible? I'd say yes. The Mets are currently almost 20 games back in their division race and almost 10 back in the Wildcard race. While they've held on as long as they could, the smoke signals have been sent about them being sellers at the deadline. The Astros are fighting to take over their division and are in control of a Wildcard spot. The price tag for Verlander may not be as bad as one would think. The Mets would have to agree to pay some of his remaining salary, but the Astros wouldn't necessarily have to give up too many high level pieces. The more the Mets want to get rid of most of his salary, the less they may ask for in return.

This reunion makes sense for both sides. The Astros need another arm to help secure their fifth World Series appearance in seven years. Verlander wants the best chance to win and continue to cement his legacy, while chasing some career milestones. Crane wanted Verlander back after last season, but the price tag was too much for him. Could a lower salary and a moderate trade package make a reunion more likely for Crane? I think so. It's a matter of what it'll cost. He has Brown manning the ship now. Brown is the kind of guy that'll make the smart move (like re-signing young guys early to team friendly deals), but he was Crane's pick as Click's replacement because he will make the splash deal like Crane wants. Could this be his first splash deal? Or will Verlander have to rot in the Big Apple, knowing he picked the wrong team?

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
The Texans host the Steelers at NRG this Sunday. Composite Getty Image.

What: Texans vs. Steelers

When: 10/1 12pm CST kickoff

Where: Houston, TX NRG Stadium

TV/Radio: KHOU-TV, KILT-Radio

Betting Lines: Steelers -2.5 (-120), O/U 42 (-110) *As of this writing

The Watt Brother Bowl takes place on Sunday. I'm calling it that because the Texans are honoring their all-time great J.J. while they're playing his younger brother and current hell raising edge rusher for the Steelers T.J. The Steelers have won four of the last five matchups vs. the Texans by an average score of 28-17. The biggest difference is that the Steelers have a second year starter at quarterback in Kenny Pickett, and the Texans have a rookie in C.J. Stroud. When you look at the two quarterbacks, both organizations have full faith in each guy. Both teams have tried to build a defense to help their young signal callers. Both are still trying to surround their franchise guys with weapons.

When the Steelers have the ball: Here's a game where Will Anderson Jr can make headway as a proven EDGE. Stacking consistent performances together and helping your team win games by making winning plays. It helps that Pickett has tiny hands. This was a knock on him during draft season last year. Hand size for a quarterback impacts grip. That can not only impact accuracy, but it could make it easier to strip the ball from him.

While he doesn't have the weapons to torch this defense, Pickett does hand the ball off to Najee Harris who's more than capable. Averaging only 67 yards rushing as a team can't be taken lightly. Denzel Perryman is expected to miss the game Sunday, so hopefully that won't help jumpstart the Steelers' run game. The Texans defense will have to key in on the run, given that they average giving up 117 a game on the ground. Those aforementioned weapons may not be scary, but the injuries to the defensive backs has hurt. Tavierre Thomas is expected to miss the game recovering from hand surgery. Jimmie Ward coming back last week showed what happens when they have a top safety back there, especially when the pass rush is turning up. Hopefully, the Texans can capitalize again this week, with safety Jalen Pitre expected to return to action.

When the Texans have the ball: Good luck stopping Tank Dell and Stroud! These guys have already established themselves as a formidable duo three games into their careers. A great way to get that connection going is to pound the rock. The Steelers are giving up over 150 yards on the ground per game so far this season. That's also a good way to keep T.J. at bay while J.J. watches. With Laremy Tunsil and Josh Jones both expected to miss the game, here are the offensive line starters: Austin Deculus, Kendrick Green, Jarrett Patterson, Shaq Mason, and George Fant.

Making the younger Watt brother slow down a bit instead of going balls to the wall after Stroud because a run could be coming will help the pass game tremendously. Stroud will have to continue to make quick decisions, but even quicker this game. I wouldn't be surprised to see his first pick of his career here, given the pressure he's most likely to be under. Especially when your offensive line starters were mostly all backups to begin this season.

Outcome: I failed to place a money line bet on the Texans last week because the game started and the live bet wasn't as profitable. I wanted to take a chance on them given their recent record against the Jags. Looking at their last five vs. the Steelers, one would say why make that bet this week? It's because I believe in Stroud more than I believe in Pickett. While T.J. Watt is a different kind of monster, Will Anderson Jr is on his way to becoming something special. Texans win/cover, and hit the over, but barely: Texans 24, Steelers 20.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome