Every-Thing Sports

Texans have a history of hitting below the Mendoza line when it comes to personnel decisions

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Mendoza Line is actually a baseball term to define a piss-poor batting average. Any player hitting .200-.215 is considered to be hitting below the Mendoza Line. Think about it: the Texans' personnel moves over the years have been at or below the Mendoza Line for their history.

"Texans need offensive line help, especially at left tackle. They should go after Trent Brown. He's a former Patriot and fits their M.O. of mimicking anything New England does." Brown ended up signing a four year deal for $66 million with the Raiders not too long after the "official" negotiating period opened.

"Texans need to bring back Tyrann Mathieu. He's the best safety this team has had, a real leader, and they need help in the defensive backfield because the corners suck!" Mathieu signed a three year deal for $42 million with the Chiefs. He reportedly turned down a deal with the Texans for three years worth $9.5 million a year.

This pattern of behavior is nothing new for this organization. For Texans fans, it has been one bad breakup after the next. The relationship between fans and this organization has been abusive in nature. The organization continues to string the fans along with promises of improving, building a winner, and becoming a perennial contender. Yet sadly, it has done nothing but mire in mediocrity, hang banners for winning the AFC South with 9-7 records, and bumble offseason improvements. While this offseason is off to a pissy start, it should look eerily familiar to those who've paid attention over the years.

It goes back to the Texans' initial draft. Most would think starting a franchise from scratch would necessitate drafting a quarterback to be the face of the newborn franchise. David Carr was sitting there as the consensus number one quarterback/player on the draft board in 2002. So was Julius Peppers. Peppers was a can't-miss physical freak at defensive end, while Carr was a good, not great, quarterback. The franchise further bumbled this decision by not putting together an offensive line or quality running back to help Carr. Sure they drafted Andre Johnson in 2003, but that wasn't enough to save Carr. he was damaged goods after getting sacked 76 times his rookie year which is still an NFL record.

Cornerback is another position of need this offseason. When the team drafted Kevin Johnson in 2015, they passed on a guy they may sign this offseason who is clearly better in Ronald Darby (drafted 34 slots after Johnson), the best corner in that draft Marcus Peters (drafted two slots after Johnson, but deemed "not Texans-worthy" due to off-field issues), and Byron Jones (picked 11 slots later and was the combine darling with his show of athleticism). Where's Johnson? He signed with the Bills.

The idiocy doesn't stop at draft picks. Remember the extensions given to Matt Schaub and Brian Cushing? How about the signings of Ed Reed and Ahman Green? Who can forget preseason Hall of Famer Lestar Jean? Anybody recall the trade for Phillip Buchanon?

General Manager Brian Gaine had a good offseason last year. Working with less than optimal draft picks and keeping cap space in mind, he managed to improve a 4-12 team to 11-5 and making the playoffs via winning the AFC South. That only made the expectations higher in the eyes of the fans and supporters. If Gaine wants to build upon his success from last offseason, he's going to have to pull another rabbit out of his hat. He's armed with about $60-some odd million in cap space and three picks in the first 64 selections of the draft. The immediate return of investment on draft picks isn't always noticeable, but quality free agent signings are judged with immediacy because they're veterans.

Going from the Mendoza Line to .300 means getting a hit three out of 10 times instead of two. That one extra hit every 10 at-bats could mean the difference in being a Hall of Fame player, or a forgotten nobody. Translated into football vernacular: Brian Gaine can go from Charlie Casserly to Bobby Bethard. Not in the sense of going from a coat-rider to a Hall of Famer, but in the sense of going from a nobody to a somebody.

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Correa could be on his way out. Composite image by Jack Brame.

It has not been the best of times to be a star athlete in Houston. In the last year, Jadeveon Clowney and DeAndre Hopkins were solid off for a warm bucket of spit. George Springer won't be back. James Harden and Russell Westbrook rumors are rampant. J.J. Watt might be moving on as well.

Now, reports are the Astros are listening to offers for Carlos Correa.

Predictably, Astros fans are livid. And if it's true, they should be concerned about the bigger picture.

Trading Correa makes sense - if you have no plans on keeping him after next season, as was clearly the case with Springer. If the Astros can get a haul and replenish the farm system, it would be the right move, especially considering Correa's injury history.

But in the long run, it does not bode well for the direction of the team. All recent indications are that the Astros are going cheap.

They would still be a competitive team without Correa, but it would be yet another indication their World Series window has closed. Alex Bregman could slide over to shortstop, but who would play third? And they only have one starting outfielder on the roster as it is. Putting together a competitive lineup around Bregman, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez would still be possible, but if the Astros aren't going to spend money, that could be problematic.

The writing was probably on the wall when the team hired James Click as GM from the notoriously frugal Tampa Bay organization. The good news is the Rays have been successful. But this is a new direction for a team that was not afraid to spend big money to make runs at the World Series.

If they lose Correa, they lose a team leader, one of the few players who embraced the villain role in the wake of the cheating controversy and was not afraid to speak out. But he has never lived up to his MVP potential, has battled injuries and will command big dollars on the open market. He is still young enough to become that kind of player, and someone will gamble big money that he will.

Sadly, if this rumor is true, it won't be the Astros.

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