THE COUCH SLOUCH

Looking at all the options for Tom Brady

Tom Brady
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Tom Brady can take any job in America he wants.

Sure, many NFL teams would love to have him for the next season or two, but I guarantee you almost any organization – big business, Wall Street, law firms, Hollywood, ad agencies, even Spirit Airlines – would hire him in a Foxboro heartbeat.

What, if you're BBDO trying to convince Coca-Cola to let you run its next TV campaign, you don't think Tom Brady in the room can't help you seal the deal?

Who wouldn't want TB12 – the all-time QB1 – on their roster?

I know Brady never EVER gets hit in the pocket, but he could make a better, safer living without having to put on pads, cleats and eye black every Sunday. Heck, he's Tom Brady – he shouldn't even be working Sunday.

A bail bonds or check-cashing store would have lines around the block if Brady were working the night shift.

He could make Ben from Ben & Jerry's an offer he couldn't refuse and recast the ice cream powerhouse as Tom & Jerry's. He could turn IHOP into the International House of Brady. He could revive "The Brady Bunch" on ABC, getting Gronk acting work as the crazy neighbor next door.

For Brady, the implausible is plausible. Is there any other 42-year-old in the nation as healthy, handsome and happy? This man's version of a personal setback is having a baby with a model and leaving her for another model.

Yet despite a world of possibilities, Brady almost certainly will remain in the NFL in 2020.

Speculation has been rampant whether first-time free agent Brady will stay in New England or leave the Patriots. Almost daily, there are stories in which sources say which way Brady is leaning. I am not sure who these "sources" are – Brady only talks to Julian Edelman, his nutritionist and the fellow who handles the air pressure in his footballs.

Does Couch Slouch know what Brady will do? Of course not. However, through contacts of mine with the Patriots' video surveillance team, T-Mobile, ADT and Russian hackers, I have obtained access to a series of recent texts between Brady and his wife, Gisele Bündchen, discussing his NFL options.

(Note: The texts have been edited for space and clarity.)

Gisele: San Francisco?

Tom: It's actually Santa Clara.

Gisele: Minnesota?

Tom: Mosquitos in the summer.

Gisele: Las Vegas?

Tom: Gruden in my face 24-7? I don't think so.

Gisele: Houston or Dallas?

Tom: I don't want to leave the U.S.

Gisele: Los Angeles?

Tom: Remember when we had a home in L.A.? Took 20 minutes just to pull out of the driveway.

Gisele: Jets or Giants?

Tom: I don't care if they name a rest stop after me, I'm not going anywhere near the New Jersey Turnpike.

Gisele: D.C.?

Tom: Let's wait and see if Trump is still in office.

Gisele: Jacksonville?

Tom: That's not even Florida – it's really Georgia.

Gisele: Chicago?

Tom: They already have Mitch Trubisky.

Gisele: Cincinnati?

Tom: I don't mind a team that is rebuilding but I don't want one that is reincarnating.

Gisele: Indianapolis?

Tom: Look at me. Look at you. Look at Indianapolis.

Gisele: New England?

Tom: Belichick.

Gisele: I'll call the movers.

Ask The Slouch

Q.The Seattle Dragons-Houston Roughnecks XFL game – still in doubt – ended with two seconds left, inexplicably. Is there an explanation? (Bill Sharpe; Houston)

A. If the game had gone to overtime, everyone gets paid overtime; wherever possible, the XFL is still cutting corners.

Q.I happened onto a PBA telecast recently and, as I watched, mesmerized, the thought came to me: How can we use instant replay to screw up bowling? (Jim Clanton; Spokane Valley, Wash.)

A. You cannot screw it up – just as bananas are nature's perfect food, bowling is nature's perfect sport.

Q. The Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim soccer clubs refused to play the final 10 minutes of their match due to vulgar signs in the stands. What would it take to get you to stop writing? (Jim O'Brien; Racine, Wis.)

A. It appears you have taken a huge first step.

Q. I read that Al Michaels might get traded from "Sunday Night Football" to "Monday Night Football." Any chance you could be traded from newspaper columnist to paperboy? (James Wagner; Akron, Ohio)

A. I wouldn't pass the physical for paperboy.

Q.Spike Lee vs. James Dolan – who you rooting for? (Michael Phillips; Charleston, W.Va.)

A. I didn't take sides during the Crimean War (1853-56) and I won't take sides here.

Q. Do you think the Astros have developed a way to tip their batter off that he's about to be hit by a pitch? (Kim Hemphill; South Riding, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!


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It's not time to panic, yet. Composite Getty Image.

This is not a column for fanboys or sugarcoating. To this point in the season the Astros stink like rotten eggs. They stink like Angel Hernandez’s umpiring. They stink like Bill O'Brien's general manager skills. The Astros are a bad team right now. That’s notably different from being a bad team. Their 4-10 record is well-earned and it is definitely possible that the Astros’ run of high quality and annual playoff appearances crashes and burns this season. But it’s laughable to declare so after just 14 games of the 162 scheduled have been played.

Last June the Astros had a lousy window in which they went 3-10. In August they had a 4-8 funk. In September it was a 3-9 stretch of collapse. The 2022 World Series Champions had a 3-8 hiccup in April, and a 2-6 blotch overlapping July and August that included getting swept in a three-game series by the then and now awful Oakland A’s.

Now the Astros are back home (Oh No!) for six games, three vs. the Rangers then three with the Braves. The Rangers lead the American League West but are just 7-6, so despite their cellar-dwelling status, the Astros are just three and a half games out of first. A winning homestand is obviously the goal. No, really. 3-3 would be ok, even though that would just about clinch a losing record heading into May.

Mandatory aside: spectacular weather is the Friday night forecast. Stop being stubborn and lame, Astros. Open the roof! I don’t mean just for the postgame fireworks.

On the mend?

The Astros’ track record of downplaying pitching injuries that turned out to be major certainly causes angst as we await Framber Valdez’s return from a sore elbow. If Valdez ultimately winds up out for months, the Astros’ starting rotation is in deep trouble. Even more so if upon the approaching delayed start to his season, 41-year-old Justin Verlander pitches to his age in terms of results and/or durability. However, if Valdez is ok within a month and JV is solid, those two, and Cristian Javier can stabilize the rotation quite nicely.

The Astros started three guys in the last four games who belong in the minor leagues. It was a sad sign of the times that the Astros were reduced to calling up Blair Henley to make the start Monday in Arlington. Except for Rangers fans and Astros haters, it grew uncomfortable watching Henley give up four hits, walk three, record just one out, and wind up charged with seven earned runs. But it’s not Henley’s fault that he was thrust into a role for which he was utterly unqualified.

Last season at Double-A Corpus Christi, Henley’s earned run average was 5.06. Because of the crummy state of the Astros’ farm system, Henley failed up to Triple-A Sugar Land to start this season. After one not good start for the Space Cowboys, “Hey, go get out big leaguers Blair!” Henley turns 27 next month, he is not a prospect of any note. If he never again pitches in the majors Henley forever carries a 135.00 ERA.

But you know what? It was still a great day for the guy. Even if undeserved, Henley made “The Show.” For one day on the Astros’ 26-man roster, Henley made over four thousand dollars. To make him eligible for call up, the Astros first had to put Henley on their 40-man roster and sign him to a split contract. That means that until/unless the Astros release him, Henley’s AAA salary jumps from approximately $36,000 for the season to over 60K.

Lastly, while Henley’s ERA could remain 135.00 in perpetuity, at least he’s no Fred Bruckbauer. In 1961 Bruckbauer made his big league debut and bade his big league farewell in the same game. He faced four batters, giving up three earned runs on three hits and one walk. Career ERA: Infinity! Bruckbauer is the most recent of the more than a dozen pitchers to retire with the infinity ERA.

Spencer Arrighetti’s debut start went much better. For two innings, before it unraveled in a seven run Royals third. Arrighetti has good stuff, but not great stuff. Control has been an issue for him in the minor leagues. Without better command Arrighetti cannot be a plus starter in the majors.

Then there’s Hunter Brown. We could go decades without seeing another pitcher give up nine runs and 11 hits in two-thirds of an inning as Brown did Thursday. It had never happened in MLB history! To this point, Brown is an overhyped hope. ERA last July: 5.92, August: 6.23, September 1 on: 8.74. Three starts into 2024: 16.43.

Jose Abreu watch

It's still early enough in the season that even just a couple of big games can markedly improve a stat line but Jose Abreu continues to look washed up at the plate. Three hits in 37 at bats (.081 batting average), with the most recent hit a questionable official scoring decision. Manager Joe Espada has already dropped Abreu from fifth in the lineup to sixth, then seventh, then eighth. Two more slots down to go, Joe! Continuing to act like Jon Singleton could be a competent bat in the lineup is just silly though.

Catch the weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week now generally goes up after Sunday’s game (second part released Tuesday, sometimes a third part Wednesday) via YouTube: stone cold stros - YouTubewith the complete audio available via Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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