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Houston Sports GMs All Under Pressure in 2023


After three years of churn, most of it generated from the Houston Texans, it appears that the head coaching (“manager” in baseball) positions have stabilized. Most Houstonians feel pretty good about the trio of Dusty Baker, Ime Udoka, and DeMeco Ryans leading the three big teams here in town. The pressure point now for Houstonians are each team’s general manager.

Of the three GMs, the Rockets’ Rafael Stone is the longest tenured, having taken over for Daryl Morey after the COVID season in 2020. Nick Caserio entered the picture with the Texans shortly after that, in early 2021. Both have experienced historical levels of losing in the season they’ve been in charge. Astros GM Dana Brown was hired in February of this year.

All three are under pressure to perform, that’s part of the business they’ve chosen. But which one is under the most pressure to get the job done in 2023? I put it to a vote of the people, and I tend to agree with the outcome:

Let’s take a closer look at each candidate:


Pressure Points: Brown is taking over a team that expects win and win big right NOW, so that always means pressure for the GM. Also, Brown is working for an owner that has already shown he will move on from a GM, even when the team WINS a World Series. Brown has important long term shopping list items to complete like long term deals for Framber Valdez and Kyle Tucker.

Mitigating Factors: Most of what’s gone wrong so far this season, namely Jose Abreu and Michael Brantley’s health, are deals that were done before Brown was hired. To some degree, he is cleaning up Jeff Bagwell’s and Jim Crane’s mess. Also, Brown was brought in, in no small part, because of his reputation in evaluating young talent, and that’s part of a much longer play.



Pressure Points: Caserio is on his third head coach in three years (not all his fault, but that’s the situation) and he has finally drafted a potential franchise quarterback in C.J. Stroud. Typically, this is where the GM is attached at the hip with a player, and they live or die together. Also, Caserio made one of the more polarizing trades in giving up MAJOR draft capital to move up and take Will Anderson third overall.

Mitigating Factors: All things considered, no GM in NFL history inherited a worse situation than Caserio in 2021. The Texans were a disaster even WITH Deshaun Watson, but Watson demanded a trade the day Caserio was hired, then the quarterback’s legal situation made him unmovable for a year. On top of that, Cal McNair seems to really admire and trust Caserio. I’d say 2024 is probably a major year for pressure on Caserio, with a year’s worth of data on Stroud and Anderson, at that point.



Pressure Points: There is no way to sugarcoat it — the lottery results last Tuesday were, at a minimum, a major letdown. Ultimately, given that Victor Wembanyama will likely wind up with the Spurs, you could argue it was a disastrous night. Stone needs to start winning, and for the first time in his tenure, he will need to get creative, as opposed to just sitting back, piling up first round picks, and taking the best young players available.

Mitigating Factors: There aren’t many. Stone does seem to have the support of the Fertitta family, though. Every public appearance where he is asked about Stone, Tilman Fertitta gives glowing praise. Stone gets the highest pressure score here, because I think the expectations to start winning are higher for him than for Caserio in 2023. The Rockets are losing games AND relevance. At least the Texans (and the NFL) always have some degree of relevance in town.


Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at, on Instagram at, and like him on Facebook at

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