Team opts for bargains over flash

Texans fans melting down over free agency: Don't panic (or do, a little)

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On the surface, the Houston Texans have some work to do in free agency. But despite what you read on Twitter, the sky is not falling because they did not dive in the first day with high profile signings.

To quote the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...Don't Panic.

Yes, they lost both Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson in free agency, but Jackson was not part of their future plans. They wanted to keep Mathieu, but were not willing to pay top dollar. Instead they signed former Jaguar Tashaun Gipson at roughly half the price.

At best, it is a break even move. But Gipson comes much cheaper than Matthieu ($14 million per season) and Jackson ($11 million). He also specializes in covering tight ends, which the Texans have struggled with for years. Is he better than Mathieu? Probably not. But is the drop-off that extreme? Not at all.

Adding help

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs

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They also added former Broncos corner Bradley Roby. He has been inconsistent, but is young and has upside. He should replace Jackson. He is one a one-year, $10 million prove it deal, much like Matthieu signed last year. Is he perfect? No, but no one in free agency is. These are two smart, low risk high reward signings.

More to come?

Jonathan Joseph

Jonathan Joseph is old.

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Are they done yet? They should not be. But adding another cornerback after Tuesday's signings - perhaps Pierre Dessir - at least gives them serviceable players at the position. Adding those to Jonathan Joseph, who is closer to the NFL graveyard than being an elite corner, and free-agent bust Aaron Colvin gives them at least some options at the position. Colvin was hurt and could be better, but they should not count on that. And they did not overspend for Roby.

Still problems

Texans offensive line The Texans offensive line has been in decline since 2014. Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The offensive line, however, remains an abject mess. They needed to sign at least one decent player, and much like last year, they are down to scraps. They will have to nail the draft - something they have not done with offensive linemen - or next year will look a lot like last year. There is certainly cause for concern there unless they can make a deal or find a hidden gem. They tried that last year and we see how it worked out.

But at least they made an effort on one position group with decent, low-risk options. That should mitigate some of the panic.

It's hard watching teams like Cleveland push all their chips in the middle while the Texans plug holes with homeless guys. It is easy to panic. But free agency is not over. If this is all they do? Then they have failed. But there is still time. Let's wait it out.

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Houston drops first of three

Mariners heat up late to take series opener over Astros

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With the playoffs just a little over a week away, the Astros started their last week of regular-season games in Seattle against the Mariners. A couple of wins against them would secure Houston's spot as the AL West's second playoff participant, with Oakland all but having locked up the first spot sitting six games in front of Houston with seven left to play. Here is a quick rundown of the opener from T-Mobile Park:

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 1.

Record: 27-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Marco Gonzalez (7-2, 3.06 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA).

Bitter end to an impressive start for McCullers Jr.

Both starting pitchers would take a scoreless deep late into Monday night's game. While the Astros were trying to figure out Marco Gonzalez, Lance McCullers Jr. was repeating the success of his last start, a seven-inning two-hit start against the Rangers.

McCullers Jr. allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the first inning, then proceeded to retire the next fourteen batters before a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth gave the Mariners their first hit of the night. He would go on to finish the sixth before things unraveled in the seventh.

A leadoff walk would result in a run after an error by Jose Altuve left runners on first and second, setting up an RBI-double to give the Mariners the first run of the night and a 1-0 lead. McCullers Jr. looked like he was going to cap off his night by stranding the runners on second and third after back-to-back strikeouts, but before he could get the last out of the inning allowed a three-run home run to blow the game open at 4-0. His final line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 102 P.

Mariners take the opener

Despite getting several hits against him along the way, Houston could not get anything substantial going against Gonzalez, who would shutout the Astros over eight innings of work. After Enoli Paredes finished the seventh, Brandon Bielak would take over out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth.

He struggled mightily, loading the bases with no outs, including a hit batter before allowing a two-RBI single to extend Seattle's lead to 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the top of the ninth, getting a two-out double by Carlos Correa, who would score on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick. That would be too little, too late as the 6-1 score would go final as the Mariners took the opener, keeping the Astros' magic number at two.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will be another 8:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. On the mound will be Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA) for the Astros and Ljay Newsome (0-1, 6.35 ERA) for the Mariners.

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