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This bold strategy for retooling the Texans would turn the roster on its head

Cleaning up the mess O'Brien left behind will require some tough decisions. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Texans are a mess. Wait...that would be an understatement. They're more like a dumpster full of by-product outside a hot dog factory that's been sitting for six weeks after being flooded and set ablaze. Yes, it's that bad of a situation. They're devoid of talent, lack the draft picks to make up cheap labor, and have been left in a position of cap hell that's unavoidable. Any general manager that takes this job will need to be given a long leash in order to reshape this roster. Any head coach that comes in will need just as long a leash because he will be working with expired ingredients when he enters this kitchen.

Bill O'Brien did his best to hand out the worst possible contracts he could, it has put the team in a position to have to make some bold moves. While listening to The Press Box on ESPN Houston this Monday, Charlie Pallilo laid out a pretty bold move for the incoming Texans general manager (it starts around the 29:18 mark). Charlie thinks the incoming regime should make roster cuts this offseason in order to set themselves up for a breakout in the '22 season. Pallilo's idea of making several cuts to guys with bad contracts this offseason, and taking the dead money cap hit, it sets the team up to have more money to spend going into the '22 season when they'd also own a full complement of draft picks.

By cutting Whitney Mercilus, Randall Cobb, Eric Murray, Ka'imi Fairbairn, Benardrick McKinney, and Zach Cunningham, the team could open up around $16 million in cap space immediately despite the dead money they'd have to carry. In addition to these moves, he also suggested cutting J.J. Watt, if you can't find a trade partner, and rolling over his $17.5 million in salary to the '22 season in order to stay at the 90% money spent per collective bargaining agreement rules. Bold moves. Yes. But is it worth it?

Detractors would say don't do it. They'd argue you're setting yourself up for failure in the '21 season by getting rid of experienced guys and filling their roster spots with cheaper and possibly not as talented options. Why set yourself up for failure and absorb so much dead money in the '21 season? Why punt on the season without keeping those guys around? A team should always try to win no matter what. To them I'd say, kick rocks!

I was listening live when Pallilo laid out this plan and wholeheartedly agree with him. People need to come to grips with the fact that the '21 season will be a wash. This team isn't getting better heading into next season. They don't have the draft picks necessary to get game-changing young players on the cheap and shouldn't spend the cap space they have left trying to acquire players to fill the voids on this roster. This allows them to maximize their cap space heading into the '22 offseason after a presumably bad '21 season. That bad season in '21 also yields a full compliment of high draft picks that they could use to retool the roster more quickly. As bold as O'Brien was in making this team the laughingstock of the league, the incoming regime will have to be even more bold to turn this disaster around more quickly.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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