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Texans tab familiar face Gaine as new GM, working on O'Brien extension

Texans tab familiar face Gaine as new GM, working on O'Brien extension
Brian Gaine will return to the Texans. Buffalobills.com

The Texans have reportedly settled on Brian Gaine as their new general manager, replacing Rick Smith. Gaine was hired away from the Texans last year, joining the Buffalo Bills as Vice President of Player personnel. Prior to that, Gaine spent three years with the Texans as director of player personnel. 

Gaine also served as assistant general manager with the Miami Dolphins. He reportedly has a good working relationship with head coach Bill O'Brien. Gaine replaces Smith, who took a leave of absence to care for his ailing wife. Smith will likely return at some point, but in another role if Gaine is successful. 

Gaine is a respected personnel man who has interviewed for several GM jobs in recent years. O'Brien, who is apparently close to a contract extension, will likely have more say on player acquisition as part of his deal. He has not earned it, but the reportedly "toxic" relationship with Smith will no longer be an excuse. 

Gaine inherits a roster that when healthy should be competitive. The return of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus should boost the defense, and Deshaun Watson appears to be a franchise quarterback in the making. However, he will need to rebuild a terrible offensive line and boost a shaky secondary, all without a first or second round pick. However, the team has significant cap room to make a splash in free agency. 

Meanwhile, the team is working on extension for O'Brien. He has several staff positions to fill, and really needs to consider a new defensive coordinator. 

But he at least has a new GM to work with. One he already knew.

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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