Compilation by Brandon Strange
Someone asked me on Twitter if there has ever been a more active summer in terms of Houston sports teams both on and off the field. You would be hard-pressed to find one. Let's look at the five biggest moves this summer and grade them:
5) Texans go GM by committee, ship out Clowney for nothingHouston Texans/Facebook
The Texans botched their draft, then fired their GM search and botched that, leaving them with a "flatter" organization. It's also a dumber one. Mainly because of the "deal" they made to trade Jadeveon Clowney.
This is a move the Texans did not need to make, especially if they were going to go all-in on the other move on this list. Trading one of your best five players when you did not need to is frankly just dumb. Seattle might only get a year out of him, but then they would get a third round pick if he signs elsewhere, which is basically what they give up. Huge win for Seattle.
4) Verlander's dominanceJustin Verlander pitches Game 1. Bob Levey/Getty Images
Justin Verlander cemented his Cy Young case with a no-hitter on Sunday in Toronto, striking out 14. Verlander is 17-5 with 2.56 ERA and 257 strikeouts. We are seeing a future Hall of Famer at his very best.
3) Astros additionsColorado Rockies v Houston Astros
The Astros made a big splash at the deadline, acquiring Zack Greinke. While he has not been dominant yet as an Astro, he is one of the best in the business and the move bolstered the Astros World Series chance. In addition, the exciting young Jordan Alvarez was called up and all he has done is make a run at the Rookie of the Year award by hitting well over .300 with 22 HRs and 63 RBI in just 66 games. Throw in Aaron Sanchez's debut with a combined no-hitter and the Stros continue to be the best run organization in the city.
2) Texans go all in on Tunsil
After the disastrous Clowney trade, the Texans shipped two No. 1s and a 2 to Miami for Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills. Tunsil is something the Texans have been desperate for ever since they shipped off Duane Brown for nothing - a legitimate, No. 1 left tackle with upside. The price was steep, but players like Tunsil are rarely available. He should make a huge difference. It also makes the Clowney trade worse, because if you are going all-in on the season, why don't you keep him?
1) Rockets acquire WestbrookJayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
The Rockets made a huge splash, acquiring former MVP Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul and a package of picks. While it may or not be a fit, putting Westbrook with Harden gives the Rockets an intriguing duo in the Western Conference. For sheer entertainment value, the Rockets get a good grade.
The bottom line
The Texans and Rockets may never have another first-round pick, but if either team is successful, that will be forgotten. The Astros continue to be the gold standard by which all others are measured. Regardless, it has been one hell of an active summer. Now we will see how it all plays out when it counts.
With a new season on the horizon, the Astros have high hopes for 2024 after coming just one game shy of being in the World Series for three consecutive seasons.
If Houston wants to get back to the Fall Classic in 2024, they're going to have to rely on their pitching. Owner Jim Crane believes the club has 8 starting pitchers when Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. return mid-season.
Which allows several of the starters to move to the bullpen and provide even more depth. Add those guys to Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Josh Hader and you have a recipe for success.
Check out the video above as ESPN Houston's Jeremy Branham goes through the entire staff and makes his case for the Astros having the best pitching staff in baseball.
You can listen to The Killer B's with Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank every weekday on ESPN 97.5 & 92.5 from 3 pm - 6 pm!