Trade deadline passes with no moves

Opportunity knocked, the Texans didn't answer

This could come back to bite the Texans. Photo by Getty Images and Composite image by Jack Brame.

There was a mild glimmer of hope for Texans fans when the front office announced the firing of then-head coach, general manager, and overall oligarch Bill O'Brien after an 0-4 start to the season. The move signified-at least for the moment-that the Texans were interested in making moves toward becoming a more competitive franchise.

Any notions of that have since been met with a bucket of cold water.

Tuesday afternoon saw the NFL trade deadline come and go with nary a phone call to the Texans' travel coordinator.

No one's headed in, and no one is headed out.

It wasn't much of a surprise, however. Texans chairman and chief operating officer Cal McNair had been interviewed the day before and the rose-colored lenses were on full display with regards to his 1-6 franchise:

There weren't even little things.

Still, there was hope that the message was simply a smokescreen and deals would still be discussed--which there were (we'll get to that).

Long shots to move were names like defensive end JJ Watt, and wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Others, like wide receiver Randall Cobb were mentioned, but none carried more trade value than wide receiver Will Fuller.

None moved.

Through the most basic logical parameters you can do nothing but conclude that there is hardly a more sell-off worthy candidate in football than the Houston Texans. They're a 1-6 team with holes up and down the roster and zero first day draft picks with which to remedy the situation. The only way out of that situation would be to sell assets, build draft capital, and at least attempt to flip that into a first or second round pick.

To be fair, there were discussions.

It seemed like there was a number between 2 and 4 that could have been discussed, and may very well have been. But the tweet alone shows just how out of touch the front office is with team prospects and player value. Fuller is a capable wide receiver, but his injury history has restricted him to 42 games out of the past 64 in his first four full seasons. Fuller was never going to fetch a second round pick. No one on the Texans was.

The Texans should be focused on the future, not on trying to sneak into an COVID induced expanded playoff scenario. This team has played all of the actual contenders already. That's why they're 1-6.

Staying put at the deadline affected more than the Texans' draft capital. It could also potentially affect the talent pool with which they'll have to choose from among general manager hires. Having extra draft picks could have been a selling point to a potential GM as an opportunity to put their own legitimate fingerprint on the franchise from the start. It's still possible, but a tougher sell.

Instead, the Texans left their fans with the same reaction Fuller himself had leading up to the trade deadline:

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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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