The Z Report

Lance Zierlein: Texans effective use of free agency means patching up wounded roster

Lance Zierlein: Texans effective use of free agency means patching up wounded roster
The Texans get some much-needed help in the secondary. Jaguars.com

Most every NFL team would agree that the construction of winning team must begin from the ground up. That obviously means that drafting and developing your own talents is essential, not just for longer-term windows of success, but for financial feasibility. Teams need to hit on their early round draft picks since those players typically are the most high impact players, but success in the middle and late round picks is essential because they are less expensive and create needed financial freedom for tweaking the team through free agency.

Band-Aids and peroxide

To be clear, free agency absolutely has value, but it should never be used to build the core of a team. Organizations who try to buy their way into blue chip talents ultimately pay a premium price for a player who can have a long-term, negative financial impact on a roster if he busts. If you bust on a first round pick, it doesn’t prevent the team from continuing to make necessary moves to the roster. Bust on a tier one free agent and you pay the iron price (well maybe not the “iron price” if you’ve seen Game of Thrones).

The Houston Texans roster is like a wound that is bleeding all over the kitchen. They haven’t hit an artery, but their offensive line and secondary is definitely getting figurative blood all over the kitchen floor. Texans general manager Brian Gaine is going to utilize free agency for what it should be used for… band-aids and peroxide. Band-aids will stop the bleeding, but the peroxide can help get you better.

Aaron Colvin, CB, Jacksonville (Peroxide): Colvin is solid but hardly spectacular at cornerback. He’s got good size and might be able to play outside in taking over Johnathan Joseph’s spot. There is also a chance that he could play in the slot which would hasten Kareem Jackson’s move to safety (or departure from roster). Colvin will get a four year deal and will be a starter, but the Texans will still need to target a cornerback in the draft.

Seantrel Henderson, OT, Buffalo (Band-Aid): Henderson is a big, powerful tackle with long arms and a lack of starts over the last couple of years. Henderson has missed time due to Crohn’s disease and a 10-game game suspension for a second violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Henderson is no lock to become a starter this year, but he has a decent shot at it. With a one-year deal, Henderson is definitely a stop-gap.

Zach Fulton, OG/OC, Kansas City (Peroxide): Fulton has experience as a guard and center but might be coming to the Texans as a starting center which would likely mean Nick Martin would be forced to move to the guard spot. While Fulton and Martin both have experience at guard and center (Martin played some guard at Notre Dame), the Texans may find that the optimal combination is with Fulton at guard and Martin at center. Fulton isn’t going to set the world on fire but he should become a core member of a re-tooled offensive line.

 

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Astros beat the Orioles, 8-1. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Framber Valdez pitched seven solid innings and Jeremy Peña and Yainer Diaz had three RBIs apiece to give the Houston Astros a 8-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday and complete a three-game sweep.

It’s just the second time the Orioles have been swept this season after losing three in a row to the Cardinals from May 20-22.

Valdez (6-5) allowed six hits and a run with seven strikeouts in seven innings to bounce back after consecutive losses.

Jose Altuve hit a leadoff homer as the Astros jumped on Albert Suárez (3-2) for four runs in the first. Alex Bregman had a season-high four hits for Houston, which extended its winning streak to five games.

Jordan Westburg homered for a second straight game to extend Baltimore’s franchise-record streak of games with a home run to 22. But the Orioles couldn't do much else offensively as they managed just one run for a second straight game.

Suárez permitted a career-high 10 hits and tied a career-most with five runs in five innings.

Bryan King struck out one in a scoreless eighth for Houston in his major league debut and Luis Contreras allowed one hit in his debut in the ninth.

Altuve sent Suárez’s first pitch out of the park for his 38th career leadoff homer to make it 1-0. Bregman doubled and scored on a one-out single by Diaz.

Peña doubled to left field to drive in Diaz and extend the lead to 3-0. Mauricio Dubón made it 4-0 with his RBI single on a line drive to center field.

César Salazar hit a single to open Houston’s fourth before a one-out double by Bregman. The Orioles intentionally walked Yordan Alvarez to load the bases and a sacrifice fly by Diaz left Houston up 5-0.

Colton Cowser singled with one out in the fifth but was erased when Adley Rutschman grounded into a force out. Ryan Mountcastle singled after that, but Anthony Santander also grounded into a force out to end the inning.

Westburg’s home run came with one out in the sixth to cut the lead to 5-1.

Bregman singled with one out in the sixth and a single by Diaz came with two outs in the inning. They both scored when Peña smacked a double to left-center field to make it 7-1.

Altuve and Bregman hit consecutive singles to start the eighth and Altuve scored on a sacrifice fly by Diaz with two outs to extend the lead to 8-1.

UP NEXT

Orioles: LHP Cade Povich (0-1, 3.94 ERA) starts for Baltimore in the opener of a three-game series with Cleveland on Monday night.

Astros: Houston is off Monday before starting a two-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

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