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Which Houston Sports GM Job Is the Best One?

Tilman Fertitta is a big wild card in there desirability of the Rockets' GM job.
Tilman Fertitta is a big wild card in there desirability of the Rockets' GM job.
Photo by Jeff Balke
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When it comes to the jobs of these three general managers in town — Nick Caserio of the Houston Texans, James Click of the Houston Astros, and Rafael Stone of the Houston Rockets — each of the roles comes with different benefits and challenges. Caserio and Stone can probably have some very specific conversations commiserating about what the next few seasons will look like, as their squads are in total rebuild mode. James Click is the only one of the three who's competing for a title any time soon.

However, despite Click being the steward for arguably the best team in baseball, is the answer so simple to the question "Which Houston general manager's job is the best one?" Is it ready made title or bust? Or is there some sort of intellectual appeal (and ego appeal) to the desire to build YOUR OWN THING from the ground up, like Caserio and Stone are being asked to do.

Let's look at the positives and negatives of each GM's job, and then you can make the determination:

NICK CASERIO, Texans GM

POSITIVES:
* Your owner basically thinks you are Albert Einstein, and he will give you whatever you need to be successful.
* Your owner will also give you piles and piles of money in the form of a top five salary.
* It’s YOUR show. You're making every major decision, and there is no way you're getting fired.
* Hell, you're about to trade Deshaun Watson, and no one is blaming you!

NEGATIVES:
* It’s minimum of two years until the team is relevant, so there will be a lot of misery.
* You have to figure out this whole "Jack Easterby" thing.
* The previous GM was the worst in the history of the NFL, and he left you with a tattered salary cap, no high draft picks, and a demoralized building.
* Oh have I mentioned you have to trade your franchise QB?
* But wait, there's more! You CAN'T trade him, even if you want to, because he is being sued by 22 women for questionable massage patient conduct.

RAFAEL STONE, Rockets GM

POSITIVES:
* You got the second overall pick in the draft next month, after it appeared you might lose it!
* In fact, you have a BOAT LOAD of first round picks over the next several years, multiple firsts in nearly every year until rapture, including your own next year, which should again be very high.

NEGATIVES:
* Your sport is the third fiddle in town right now, so drumming up support (and putting butts in seats) is tough.
* Why should butts in seats matter? Well, because your owner is a bit of a wild card, and his core business (hotels, restaurants, casinos) just got murdered by COVID. You have to wonder "How long is my rope?"

JAMES CLICK, Astros GM

POSITIVES:
* You're overseeing, arguably, the best team in baseball, so might win a title in Year 2 of your regime.
* Your owner spends money, so you can do all of your analytical efficiency stuff on the margins and still spend!

NEGATIVES:
* The farm system, ravaged by trades and sign stealing punishments, is not great.
* You're still dealing with some of the fallout from sign stealing, perceptually and functionally.
* You might be coming in on the downside of the championship arc.
* If you're ego matters, just know you will never get full credit if the Astros win the World Series in 2021. It'll be viewed as you winning it with "Luhnow's guys"

For what it's worth, it appears that many of you (at least the ones that vote in Twitter polls) want the microwave, immediate satisfaction of possibly winning a title in 2021:

If it were me, I'd go with Caserio's job. He is well paid (among the five highest paid GM's in the league), has extreme job security, the adoration of the owner, and if he gets the Texans back to being a competitive playoff team, they'll build a statue for him. Give me the brain teaser and ego stroke of building my own winner any day of the week.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.

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