The Pallilog

Padres signing of Machado could impact Astros and Correa

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P.T. Barnum of circus fame is generally credited with saying "There's a sucker born every minute."

Behold the San Diego Padres. They "won" the Manny Machado sweepstakes with a 10 year $300 million dollar offer. For the second consecutive off season the small market small budget Padres sign the most ridiculous free agent deal. At least until we see what Bryce Harper winds up getting. Last year the Padres laughably overpaid a little better than average first baseman Eric Hosmer to the tune of eight years $144 million.

The Astros have to take notice of Machado's deal. No doubt Carlos Correa is taking notice. It's not a pressing crisis, but Correa becomes eligible for free agency after the 2021 season. Correa and Machado are very comparable players. Except Correa has never proven to be a serial culprit of lack of hustle.

Unless he signs a multi-year contract beforehand, Correa will hit the market just a few months older than Machado was when he did. The chief questions about Correa (hundreds of millions of dollar questions) are his recovery from last season's back problem, and his overall durability. If Correa's back is healthy and causes no further problems going forward and he resumes what had been a presumed path to superstardom, what Correa commands will be through Minute Maid Park's retractable roof. The Astros should hope to have to deal with the issue. It would mean Correa has produced hugely in the meantime.

Machado has been an excellent player who should be in the heart of his prime. But with all due respect to Justin Verlander and others who'd been grousing about how come Machado and Harper hadn't had their wishes fulfilled yet, 10 years guaranteed is stupid. Machado can opt out of the contract after five years. What if he turns out to be a guy who happened to have his best season just in time in free agency? What if his sense of professionalism doesn't improve and he's not a great teammate/role model for the Padres' trove of prospects? The Padres have no opt out, they'd be on the hook thru 2028.

If Correa fulfills his potential and is a 30 million dollar per year player come 2022, will the Astros pay the freight while paying Jose Altuve 29 million per through 2024? Alex Bregman can become a free agent after the 2022 season.

Tag, Clowney is it

The Texans have until March 5 to use the franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney. The only time the Texans have used the tag was on cornerback Dunta Robinson. That didn't work out very well. But using the tag on Clowney is an easy decision if they can't first reach a longer term contract agreement, which one would guess they will not. Clowney and his people likely seek money in range of what his 2014 Draft classmates Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack got. Before last season they signed the two biggest defensive player contracts ever. Donald got $87 million dollars guaranteed, Mack topped that with 90. The Texans should laugh and say now let's get serious about a deal. Clowney is a Pro Bowl-level player who has missed only three games over the last three seasons. Clowney also has yet to come remotely close to NFL Defensive Player of the Year status because he simply is not a great pass rusher, as evidenced by his zero 10 sack seasons to date. The franchise tag would pay Clowney 16 mil give or take in 2019, about a three million dollar raise.

Still at a loss

The stretch run toward the playoffs is underway in the NBA. The Rockets have all their essential players healthy for the first time since December. And promptly puked up a 19 point second half lead in a bad loss at the Lakers Thursday night. The Rockets sit in fifth place in the Western Conference, closer to the draft lottery than to third. Unless James Harden soon goes down injured it's highly unlikely they sink to lottery depths. Alas, they have zero chance of overtaking Golden State atop the West, and close to zero chance of reeling in second place Denver. Catching third place Oklahoma City is unlikely unless the Rockets can go 19-5 or better vs. their remaining schedule. At this point third would be great. It would mean the Rockets played good ball the rest of the season, and presuming Golden State finishes first the Rockets would avoid the Warriors before the Western Conference Finals should both teams make it that far. Well, should the Rockets make it that far. Not much doubt about the Warriors.

Whose house?

Little reason to think the University of Houston won't make it 26-1 for the season and a 33 game homecourt winning streak as it plays host to South Florida Saturday. The Cougars should be 29-1 when they play at Cincinnati in the regular season finale March 10.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Thank goodness the most boring sports week until baseball All Star Game week is out of the way. 2. Marv Albert makes many more mistakes than he used to, but remains the best voice to hear calling an NBA game. 3. Whiniest on court Rockets: Bronze-Chris Paul Silver-P.J. Tucker Gold-Eric Gordon

Astros take game one of three against Rangers

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: Astros 7, Rangers 2

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After having their winning streak snapped on Wednesday night, the Astros had a day off to regroup before starting the weekend series with the Rangers in Arlington. Here's how Friday night's game went:

Final Score: Astros 7, Rangers 2

Record: 13-6, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (3-0).

Losing pitcher: Drew Smyly (0-2).

Star of the game: Though there was plenty of offense to go around for the Astros, Justin Verlander delivered a great performance on the mound, allowing just one run on three hits and three walks to go along with his eight strikeouts over his seven innings and 107 pitches. The win moved him to 3-0 on the year.

Notes: After being held to one run on Wednesday night in Oakland, the Astros were on fire to start the game on Friday, getting a leadoff double from George Springer to set up Jose Altuve for a two-run homer, followed by Alex Bregman who made it back-to-back jacks to put Houston ahead 3-0 before Drew Smyly could record an out. Altuve struck again in the next inning, getting a two-out RBI-single to extend the lead to 4-0. That score held until the top of the fifth when Michael Brantley led the inning off with a double before Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit back-to-back RBI-doubles, then later George Springer hit what looked to be a home run but was instead ruled the third RBI-double of the inning, extending Houston's lead to 7-0. After being held scoreless through the first five innings, the Rangers did finally get on the board in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run off of Justin Verlander, but Verlander would still go on to post a great line with his seven innings pitched. Chris Devenski took over in the eighth, getting a quick scoreless inning before Reymin Guduan came in for the ninth. Guduan allowed a towering one-out solo home run to the Rangers then walked the next batter, ending his appearance to bring in Josh James who was able to notch the last two outs to wrap up the win.

Up Next: The second of three games in this series will get underway at 7:05 PM on Saturday night. Houston will send Gerrit Cole (1-2, 3.24 ERA) to the mound to face Adrian Sampson (0-1, 5.93 ERA) for the Rangers.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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