TALKING TEXANS

Waiting to extend Clowney is the right thing to do

The Texans may have to decide between J.J. Watt (left) and Jadeveon Clowney. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Recent chatter around the Houston Texans is centered on a new contract for Jadeveon Clowney, especially now that Benardrick McKinney got his last week. The latest word is that Clowney may not get a new deal done before the start of the regular season and GM Brian Gaine doesn’t negotiate contacts past that point. Essentially, there’s a ticking clock on these negotiations and it’s not looking good for this year.

I’m OK with just folding up negotiations and waiting until the season is over. Clowney may be an impact player, but guys making the kind of money he’s looking for have the stats to back it up. That includes games played per year. A top tier pass rusher makes about a million dollars per sack. That would make Clowney worth what they just paid McKinney; $10 million a year. But he’s not just a pass rusher, just like J.J. Watt when he was playing healthy. His value across the board is probably equal to the $12 million he’s making this year.

But the Texans might want to choose between Watt and Clowney. Watt averages about $16 million and still has four years left on his deal and since they’ve already invested in him then Jadeveon will be playing in his last year, right? Wrong. What if the Man of the Year misses another season to injury? He only has $2 million in dead money if the Texans part ways after this season. That’s money that could be freed up for a younger player like Clowney.

It might not even matter if Watt plays a full season. He’s coming up on 30 and has missed most of the last two seasons with injury. It might be a wise move to simply swap the two players out after this season and let someone else take on J.J.’s injury history. I know that’s not a popular thought, but the Texans need a lot of help if they are going to stay competitive in the coming years. If Clowney shows he can stay on the field then youth is the way to go.

They need to be prepared for free agency and carrying a high cost for both players in 2019 won’t give them a lot of wiggle room elsewhere. Brian Gaine will need to keep all his moves in front of him from this moment forward if he wants to keep plenty of room under the salary cap. Hopefully he will put a pin in the talks for this year and pick it up when Clowney’s value is a little more definitive.  

What happens next may not be popular but I will be all right waiting until next year to find out.

 

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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