Falcon Points

The 5 worst trades in Houston sports history

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When the Houston Texans made the baffling trade with Arizona on Monday, it made no sense. Sending All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for essentially a second-round pick and a broken down, overpaid running back instantly became one of the worst deals in the history of Houston sports. Most of the time, Houston teams are on the right end of trades. But there have been times that was not the case. A look at the five worst trades in Houston history:

5) Rockets trade Elvin Hayes to Washington for Jack Marin (June 23, 1972)

This move happened while the team was still in San Diego, but it belongs on the list. Marin was a decent player who had one All-Star season with the Rockets then fell off the map. Hayes became one of the league's best players, a Hall of Famer who helped lead Washington to a title and numerous Finals appearances. Hayes was a member of the NBA's 50th anniversary all-time team. He was dealt reportedly because of a personality clash with then-coach Tex Winter. Winter would last one more season. Hayes would thrive in Washington, eventually returning to Houston for the end of his career. Considered one of the best deals in Washington history, the Rockets were on the wrong end. The only reason this is not higher is that they were still the San Diego Rockets at the time. You could make a case for this one at No. 1

4) Rockets trade Moses Malone to Philadelphia (Sept. 15, 1983)

In a way, this trade worked out in that the Rockets were so bad they got back-to-back No. 1 picks, one being Hakeem Olajuwon, who would finally bring the team a title in 1993-94. But Malone was an MVP, the league's best rebounder and had just led the Rockets to the Finals two years before the deal. It was basically because ownership did not want to pay him as a restricted free agent, so the Rockets dealt him. Malone helped lead the 76ers to the title in 1983, and Malone would get his second straight MVP award. Basically, the Rockets dealt one of the best players in the league for a No. 1 pick that turned out to be Rodney McCray. McCray was an OK player, but not in the class of Malone. The only reason this isn't No. 1 is part of the deal was to tank, which eventually worked out. But trading perhaps the best player in the league in his prime as a salary dump was a bad look all around.

3) Astros trade Curt Schilling to the Phillies for Jason Grimsley (April 2, 1992)

The Astros had no idea what they had in Schilling, who was 3-5 with a 3.81 ERA and eight saves. All it took was a change of scenery and a move to the starting rotation and Schilling would go on to six All-Star appearances and three World Series appearances. Grimsley? He never pitched for the Astros and was released a year later. He would go on to a 15-year career and won as many as seven games just once.

2) Texans trade DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona (March 16, 2020)

Before you cry "recency bias," this trade was very similar to the Malone deal in that Hopkins is one of the best in the league, and the Texans basically got just a second round pick back for an elite player who is in his prime on a team-friendly contract. But throw in the fact that they took on a vastly overpaid, broken down running back that they probably could have gotten a draft pick just for taking him on...This deal makes no sense from a Texans standpoint. They got far too little for Hopkins, took on a bad contract from an oft-injured player and decimated the receiving corps in the process. The longterm ramifications of this deal could be even worse if Deshaun Watson decides he does not want to be in Houston because of the deal. This was Bill O'Brien's small-man syndrome ego at its very worst, and there is no way this deal looks better over time unless David Johnson reverts to his one career year, Will Fuller stays healthy and Hopkins falls off the map. Good luck with all of that. You don't trade one of the best players in the league if you are trying to compete for a title, and the Texans can't even be tanking because they have no picks. Dumb move all around.

1) Oilers trade Steve Largent to Seattle (1976)

The Oilers drafted Steve Largent in the fourth round in 1973. He was going to be cut at the end of camp, so they shipped him to Seattle for an 8th-round pick. All he did was become one of the all-time greats, playing 14 seasons, eight of them with at least 1,000 yards, and scoring 100 touchdowns. The Oilers clearly did not know what they had, and he never played a down for the team.

Honorable mention (6-10)

6) May 16, 1973: Oilers trade Kenny Houston to the Redskins.

7) Nov. 29, 1971: Astros trade Joe Morgan to the Reds

8) Sept. 1, 2019: Texans trade Jadeveon Clowney to Seattle.

9) Oct. 30, 2017: Texans trade Duane Brown to Seattle.

10) Dec 10, 1991: Astros trade Kenny Lofton to the Indians for catcher Ed Taubensee.

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After splitting the first two games of the series, including the extra-inning affair on Saturday, the Astros looked to defeat the Angels on Saturday to secure the series win and leave Los Angeles with a winning record. On the mound were two pitchers looking to shrug off bad debuts to the season. Here is how the game went on Sunday afternoon:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 6, Angels 5.

Record: 5-4, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Blake Taylor (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jacob Barnes (0-2, 3.86 ERA).

James walks his way into trouble

After a disastrous start to his pitching season where he was unable to record an out, Shohei Ohtani was able to sit down the Astros 1-2-3 on just eight pitches in the top of the first. However, Houston would take advantage of his struggling command in the top of the second, working three straight walks to load the bases with no outs. They then would get two more walks with two outs to grab an early 2-0 lead and end Ohtani's day early yet again.

Meanwhile, on the mound for Houston was Josh James. He, too, allowed some walks but was able to work around them in the first two innings, erasing two in the bottom of the first and one in the second for two scoreless innings.

That changed in the third when he would walk the bases loaded with two outs before Albert Pujols continued his nearly twenty-year reign of being a thorn in Houston's side, hitting a grand slam, Los Angeles' first hit of the day, to put the Angels up 4-2. James would get the final out of the third, but that would conclude his day, making it two straight starts he would be unable to reach the fourth inning. His final line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 4K, 1 HR.

Valdez impresses as Bregman makes it a one-run game in the seventh

Framber Valdez was first out of Houston' bullpen, likely to try and eat up several innings. He would accomplish that mission, getting through the next three innings scoreless, holding the 4-2 score. It remained locked on that score despite Houston getting runners on base in each of those innings, as they would struggle to turn players on base into runs yet again in this series.

Alex Bregman gave the Astros a spark in the top of the seventh, leading off the inning with a solo home run to straightaway center to make it a one-run game. Valdez returned for yet another inning, another scoreless frame to keep it 4-3 going to the eighth.

Reddick ties it in the ninth, Astros win in extras

Houston would threaten to tie in the top of the eighth, getting a pinch-hitting Carlos Correa to third base after a single to leadoff the inning, but would be unable to score him, leaving it at 4-3. Valdez would record another scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Astros one more chance to tie or go ahead in the top of the ninth.

Michael Brantley led off the inning with a double and was pinch-run by Myles Straw, who would score the tying run on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick, but the Angels would hold the Astros there. Valdez remained in the game trying to push extra innings and would do so, erasing a leadoff walk.

Kyle Tucker started the top of the tenth on second base and moved to third on a sac fly by Carlos Correa to start the inning before scoring on another sac fly, this time from pinch-hitting Garrett Stubbs to give Houston a 5-4 lead. Valdez, well above his comfortable pitch count, was still on the mound in the bottom of the tenth, and allowed his first run, though unearned, on a leadoff RBI-single to tie the game again at 5-5. He would get one more out before Houston moved to another reliever, bringing in Andre Scrubb.

After an intentional walk to Albert Pujols, Scrubb would walk the bases loaded before getting a popout, then Houston would turn to Blake Taylor. Taylor would come through, getting a big strikeout to send the game to the eleventh. Springer started on second in the top of the inning and would score and put the Astros back in front on a one-out RBI-single by Alex Bregman. In the bottom half, Taylor would get through the inning, giving Houston the win and series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will have a day off tomorrow before picking up a three-game set with the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Tuesday. The opening game of that series will be at 8:10 PM Central. While Arizona is expected to start Madison Bumgarner, the Astros will have to pivot as they had Framber Valdez slated for that start, who made a lengthy appearance out of the bullpen on Sunday.

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