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While a certain city tends to draw all the buzz as the top Texas tech hub — especially since Elon Musk moved there — Houston has just emerged as No. 1 in the Lone Star State regarding tech jobs.

A new report from Dice, an online platform for tech professionals, shows Houston No. 5 among major U.S. cities for the growth of tech job postings from the first half of 2021 to the first half of 2022.

Houston, says the Dice report, registered an increase of 83 percent — making it tops in Texas.

Elsewhere in Texas, San Antonio No. 6 among major U.S. cities (and No. 2 in Texas) with an increase of 80 percent. Dallas appeared at No. 15 on the list, recording a 58 percent growth rate for tech job postings. Surprisingly, Austin failed to make the top 25 in this category.

Overall, Orlando, Florida topped the list, boasting a 111 percent growth rate for tech job postings.

This news is hardly surprising for Houston. In March, as CultureMap reported, Houston landed at No. 2 on Blinds list of the best-paying Texas cities for software engineers. Here, the average annual salary is $111,625, and the average annual compensation is $137,987.

“Long before Austin became a magnet for jobs, there was Houston. Long a hub for the aerospace, defense, and energy industries, the aptly named Space City has been a go-to place for a job in tech,” Blind noted.

In October 2021, as CultureMap and sister site InnovationMap reported, employers in the Houston area posted openings for 14,714 tech jobs in the third quarter of 2021, which was up 44 percent from the same period last year. Through the first nine months of this 2021, Houston-area employers listed nearly 39,000 openings for tech positions.

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Houston named No. 1 destination for millennials on the move from this Texas city

Putting down roots

For the most part, Austin millennials have stayed close to home after entering adulthood, a new report indicates.

At age 26, nearly 70 percent of people who were born from 1984 to 1992 and raised in Austin remained there, according to the report. That leaves more than 30 percent who moved elsewhere.

Data compiled by researchers at Harvard University and the U.S. Census Bureau pinpoints Houston as the No. 1 target for millennials who lived in Austin at age 16 and grew up here but lived somewhere else in the U.S. at age 26. The Bayou City attracted 3.9 percent of millennial movers born from 1984 to 1992 (a large subset of the millennial generation) who grew up in Austin.

Bayou City was followed by San Antonio (3.1 percent), Dallas (2.8 percent), Killeen (1.3 percent), and Fort Worth (1.2 percent). These were the only Texas cities to surpass the 1 percent mark for the share of millennials born from 1984 to 1992 who had moved away from Austin. In 2022, these millennials are celebrating birthdays from 30 to 38.

These are the top five out-of-state destinations for Austin-raised, on-the-move millennials:

  • Los Angeles — 0.86 percent
  • New York City — 0.79 percent
  • Denver — 0.64 percent
  • Seattle — 0.50 percent
  • Washington, D.C. — 0.43 percent

The list of Texas places that sent millennials to Austin looks very similar to the list of places that gained millennials from Austin. The top five are Houston (6.7 percent of movers born from 1984 to 1992 who came to Austin), Dallas and San Antonio (3.7 percent each), Fort Worth (2 percent), and Brownsville (1.6 percent).

Los Angeles is the only out-of-state destination that broke the 1 percent barrier for millennials who relocated to Austin (1.6 percent), followed by Chicago (0.97 percent), Washington, D.C. (0.63 percent), Detroit (0.51 percent), and Boston and New York City (0.49 percent each).

The geographic regions cited in the report are not metro areas but, instead, are commuting zones. A commuting zone represents a collection of counties that define an area’s labor market.

Researchers relied on federal tax, population, and housing data to assemble the report.

The statistics for Austin largely align with nationwide trends. The researchers say 80 percent of young-adult movers in the U.S. had relocated less than 100 miles from where they grew up and 90 percent had moved less than 500 miles.

“The majority of young adults stay close to home,” the researchers explain. “Average migration distances are shorter for Black and Hispanic young adults than for White and Asian young adults. Average migration distances are also shorter for those with lower levels of parental income.”

“For many individuals,” the researchers conclude, “the ‘radius of economic opportunity’ is quite narrow.”

Photo by F. Carter Smith/courtesy of MD Anderson

Houston's elite hospitals score No. 1 spots in prestigious new list of best in U.S. and Texas

med center might

A prestigious, annual national report has verified what Houstonians already know: Our Medical Center boasts the best adult and children’s hospital in Texas and the best cancer center in America.

U.S. News & World Report released its 2022-23 Best Hospitals list, which names The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center No. 1 in the nation for cancer care. For those keeping track, MD Anderson has been considered in the top two cancer hospitals in the U.S. since the U.S. News launched the survey in 1990.

While securing the top rank for cancer care, MD Anderson also scored high national ranks for specialty treatments: urology (No. 5) and diabetes and endocrinology (No. 13). The center continues to maintain its “High Performing” rating on the U.S. News list for colon cancer and lung cancer. It also received “High Performing” ratings for the three newly added adult procedures and conditions: ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and uterine cancer, per a press release.

“We are proud to be ranked as the nation’s leader in cancer care,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson, in a statement. “This ongoing recognition is thanks to the incredible MD Anderson community, including our faculty, employees, trainees, students, donors and advocates, who advance our science and our mission and who serve our patients by enabling us to provide the best care possible.”

Rankings for the annual U.S. News study are based on scores in patient care, patient safety, outcomes, nursing, advanced technology, and reputation.

Houston leads medicine in Texas
The tagline for Houston Methodist Hospital systems — “leading medicine” — is quite fitting here in Texas. The hospital comes in at No. 15 nationally (marking the sixth time it has been recognized in the report’s Honor Roll) and No. 1 in Texas for the 11th year in a row. Locally, Houston Methodist Sugar Land ranks No. 5 in Houston and No. in Texas, a press release notes.

Notably, U.S. News has ranked Houston Methodist Hospital in at least one specialty for the past 30 years. This year, Houston Methodist Hospital ranks in 10 specialties, the most of any hospital in the state, according to the report. Two of these ranked specialties appear in the list’s top 10 (diabetes and endocrinology at No. 9; gastroenterology/GI surgery at No. 8), while six are ranked in the top 20.

“This is a tremendous achievement for our physicians and employees who dedicate themselves every day to our patients – especially as we continue to provide the highest quality care during these trying times in health care,” said Marc Boom, M.D., president and CEO of Houston Methodist, in a statement. “Our mission to provide unparalleled care is for our patients, who are the reason we need to be one of the best hospital systems in the country.”

Texas Children’s tops Texas and Southwest
Yet another Houston hospital scored extremely well nationally in the list. Texas Children’s Hospital ranks No. 2 overall in the Best Children’s Hospitals ranking. The beloved children’s center also remains top in Texas and the Southwest, and at No. 1 in heart treatment for the sixth year in a row. No other pediatric hospital in Texas has achieved an overall ranking as high as Texas Children’s has in the past 14 years, a Texas Children’s release notes.

“We are beyond thrilled with the newest U.S. News & World Report rankings that place Texas Children’s Hospital second in the United States and first in the state of Texas,” said Mark A. Wallace, president and CEO, in a statement. “Consistent collaboration, newfound discoveries and extraordinary patient care is what has brought us to where we are today. I am incredibly proud of this remarkable team and everything we’ve accomplished together — and our promise to every family is that we are just getting started.”

Texas’ best mental health care is here
Also boasting top honors in the state — and No. 10 nationally — is the Menninger Clinic. The acclaimed facility tied for tenth place on U.S. News’ list of best psychiatric hospitals, making it the all-out best in Texas.

Of note, Menninger has been named a top-10 psychiatry hospital in the U.S. for 32 consecutive years, the hospital points out. “With the growing need for mental health care, we are grateful for the trust that psychiatrists have had in referring their clients to The Menninger Clinic for comprehensive diagnosis and treatment,” said president and CEO Armando E. Colombo in a statement.

Elsewhere in Texas
Dallas-Fort Worth is home to the No. 2 hospital in Texas, per U.S. News. UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas also ranked especially well nationally in urology (No. 11), cardiology and heart surgery (No. 14), diabetes and endocrinology (No. 18), pulmonology and lung surgery, (No. 21), and cancer (No. 25).

Not far down the list is Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, which ranked No. 4 in Texas. One Baylor department ranked nationally: gastroenterology and GI surgery department, No. 34.

Meanwhile, Austin’s St. David’s Medical Center ranked No. 8 in Texas. Austinites in need of post-procedure work and physical therapy should note that the hospital’s rehabilitation department ranked nationally, coming in at No. 37 overall.

Photo via Pixlr

Houston clocks in as one of the fastest-growing cities for freelancers

wfh ftw

Visitors to Memorial Park on an early weekday afternoon probably have to stop and wonder where all these people are coming from. Don’t they have work to do?

Maybe they do, but on their own schedules. Fiverr, a marketplace for connecting freelancers and new clients, released its fifth annual Freelance Economic Impact Report, ranking Houston as the tenth fastest-growing city for freelancers.

According to the report, some 144,000 workers in Houston made $6.6 billion. That means the Bayou City led Texas with around $46,000 for per capita income.

Elsewhere in Texas, Austin came in as the fourth fastest-growing city for freelancers. The city's 77,262-person independent workforce earned $3.4 billion in 2021. In Dallas, which came in at No. 8, some 177, 500 workers made $7.6 billion.

Joining Houston, Austin, and Dallas in the top 10 were:

1. Orlando, Florida
2. Nashville, Tennessee
3. Miami, Florida
5. Tampa, Florida
6. Las Vegas, Nevada
7. Charlotte, North Carolina
9. Portland, Oregon

Although on the surface the report focuses on geography, it collected data that shows eight out of 10 freelancers believe they can live anywhere and work anytime. However, fewer than half reported that it was “a primary factor” in becoming freelancers, and a third said that work was “a primary influence” in their choice of location.

Most important, 70 percent of respondents said they were “highly satisfied” with working independently.

Photo via Pexels

Houston's economy booms with record-breaking growth in this area, says report

from houston, with love

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Houston is demonstrating its might in the global economy.

In 2021, exports from the Houston area reached a record-breaking $140.8 billion, according to a report from the Greater Houston partnership. The previous record, set in 2019, was $128.7 billion. The Houston-Galveston Customs District, comprising eight ports, now handles more tonnage (over 351.5 million metric tons in 2021) than it did before the pandemic.

“COVID had a short-lived impact on Houston’s exports,” the report says.

The report suggests the region’s export activity supports more than 450,000 direct and indirect jobs here.

According to the report, the Houston metro area leads all U.S. metros for the value of exports. It ranks well above New York City ($103.9 billion), Los Angeles ($58.6 billion), Chicago ($54.5 billion), and Dallas-Fort Worth ($43.2 billion). Houston’s top exports include chemicals, plastics, crude oil, and oilfield equipment.

“As retailers work to rebuild their inventories, as factories struggle to resolve supply chain issues, as the global economy continues to grow, so will the demand for Houston’s exports, and so will Houston employment,” the report says.

The report cites four factors that will continue to drive Houston’s export activity, at least in the short term:

  1. U.S. companies are still rebuilding inventories and need to bring in more goods from overseas.
  2. Some container traffic has started to shift to Houston from congested areas like Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.
  3. The Houston area continues to grow as a distribution center. Developers have added more than 96 million square feet of warehouse space in the region over the past five years.
  4. Houston is once again among the most rapidly growing metros, “which will drive the need for more consumer goods, most of which will arrive in a container via the Port of Houston.”

Houston’s top 10 trade partners and the value of that trade in 2021 were:

  • China — $24.7 billion, up from $19.3 billion in 2020.
  • Mexico — $21.6 billion, up from $14.5 billion in 2020.
  • Brazil — $16.9 billion, up from $12.0 billion in 2020.
  • Korea — $16.2 billion, up from $9.5 billion in 2020.
  • India — $13.9 billion, up from $8.0 billion in 2020.
  • Netherlands — $13.8 billion, up from $9.5 billion in 2020.
  • Germany — $11.9 billion, up from $9.5 billion in 2020.
  • Japan — $11.5 billion, up from $7.7 billion in 2020.
  • United Kingdom — $9.8 billion, up from $7.6 billion in 2020.
  • Columbia — $7.1 billion, up from $5.3 billion in 2020.

“Houston’s ties to the globally economy have grown with the city. In many ways, those ties propelled Houston’s growth. The region’s fortune now rise and fall with those of the global economy,” the report says.

---

This article originally ran on our sister site InnovationMap.

Photo by fstop123/Getty Images

Texas first-time buyers need $10,000 more to afford a home this year, report shows

The price is not right

The hurdles are raised for first-time homebuyers in Texas yet again, as rising interest rates demand an overall higher income for mortgage approval.

The Texas Real Estate Research Center released findings in its new Texas Housing Affordability Outlook that Texans buying their first homes need $10,000 more in income than at the beginning of last year to be approved for a $229,000 house.

Purchasing power, the center explains, and mortgage interest rates are indirectly related. Higher interest means higher monthly payments; it takes a higher income to keep up. “... As long as the rise in home prices continues to outpace the increase in income, purchase affordability, or the ability of a household to buy a home, will continue to diminish,” explains the report.

The $229,000 figure represents the first-quartile home price in Texas in Q1 2022, described as "the highest home price among those lowest-priced 25 percent of homes sold" in the state. The state's median home price for the first quarter of 2022 was $319,000. Year-over-year growth was slightly higher for the median figure (18.4 percent) than first-quartile figure (17.5 percent), but both are at their highest rates since the beginning of the chart in 2012.

The Austin-Round Rock area is, of course, driving a large part of this growth, with a 29.2 percent change in first-quartile prices since Q1 2021. That figure in Austin now sits at $420,000, almost double the state's first-quartile home price. Dallas’ numbers are slightly above the state average, San Antonio’s nearly exactly match.

Houston’s are slightly below, at 17.2 percent. Here, per the report, the median home sales price was $320,000, while the first quartile sales price measured $249,000.

Unfortunately for many Texans currently renting, only 37.4 percent of them are making the qualifying income ($61,652) to buy one of those first-quartile homes with a 3.4 percent interest rate (that was the national interest rate at the beginning of the year; by mid-May the interest rate had risen to 5.25 percent).

In some good news, the report finds that from 2021 to 2022, median family income in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA increased 13.8 percent. But, the report adds that if the trend in home prices outpacing the increase in income, Houstonian's ability to buy a home, will continue to diminish.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Alt-rock legends Red Hot Chili Peppers heading to Houston for 2023 North American tour

one hot minute

One of alternative rock's most pioneering and enduring acts is headed to Houston to close out a highly anticipated North American tour next year. Red Hot Chili Peppers will play Minute Maid Park on Thursday, May 25, 2023 as part of a North American trek that kicks off in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 29.

Houston lands the honor of the closeout city for the North American tour (the band will also play a slew of dates in Europe). Effortlessly hip, celeb-fave modern rock band The Strokes will support the Chili Peppers, along with the talented bassist-vocalist Thundercat.

Tickets go on sale this week at 10 am Friday, December 9 online.

Houston fans who can't get enough can also catch the Chili Peppers when they hit The Alamodome in San Antonio on Wednesday, May 17 — the only other Texas date.

Aside from The Strokes and Thundercat, supporting acts along the way include Iggy Pop, The Roots, The Mars Volta, St. Vincent, City and Colour, and King Princess.

Touring in support of their two No. 1 studio albums released in 2022, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, the Chili Peppers have been played sold-out shows in London, Paris, Los Angeles, and more with major names such as Notable artists such as A$AP Rocky, Anderson.Paak, Beck, and HAIM.

The first rock band in 17 years to score two No. 1 albums in one year, the band has been red hot on the Billboard charts and at the MTV Video Music Awards, where they received the Global Icon Award and brought the house down with a performance of the No. 1 single “Black Summer,'' which also won the award for Best Rock Video.

Fronted by the impossibly chiseled and ageless (he's 60!) Anthony Kiedis, the Chili Peppers formed in 1983. Unabashedly proud of their LA roots, the band burst onto the scene with early singles such as "Higher Ground" and "Give It Away," both showcases of bassist Flea's slappin', funk-fueled basslines.

Throughout the peak of alternative music in the '90s, the band saw tragedy, personnel changes at guitar, and reinventions — Kiedes' rap-singing, Flea's bass grooves, and singalong choruses all constants over the decades.

While many '90s alt-rock acts fizzled, the Chili Peppers stayed relevant; the band boasts two anthemic singles with more than 1 billion streams — "Californication" and "Under the Bridge" — and more than 25 million followers on Spotify.

Expect this show to be packed with Gen Xers and new fans for what promises to be one hot minute.

Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 tour dates:

  • Wednesday, March 29 – Vancouver – BC Place
  • Saturday, April 1 – Las Vegas – Allegiant Stadium
  • Thursday, April 6 – Fargo, North Dakota – FargoDome
  • Saturday, April 8 – Minneapolis – US Bank Stadium
  • Friday, April 14 – Syracuse, New York – JMA Wireless Dome
  • Friday, May 12 – San Diego – Snap Dragon Stadium
  • Sunday, May 14 – Phoenix – State Farm Stadium
  • Wednesday, May 17 – San Antonio – Alamodome
  • Friday, May 19 – Gulf Shores, Alabama – Hangout Music Festival
  • Thursday, May 25 – Houston – Minute Maid Park






announced their 2023 Tour, in support of their two No. 1 studio albums that were released in 2022, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen. Following a recent Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song for “Black Summer,” the band will embark on a 23-date global trek that kicks off on Wednesday, March 29 at BC Place in Vancouver, BC with stadium shows and festival stops across North America and Europe in Las Vegas, San Diego, Houston, Lisbon, Madrid, Vienna and more before wrapping up on Saturday, July 23 in Glasgow, UK at Hampden Park. The Strokes, Iggy Pop, The Roots, The Mars Volta, St. Vincent, City and Colour, Thundercat, and King Princess will join the band on select dates.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 Tour rolls into the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX, on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, and Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX, on Thursday, May 25, 2023, both with the Strokes and Thundercat.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 Tour comes close on the heels of the band’s largest 40-date stadium tour to date, which included massive sold-out shows in London, Paris, Los Angeles, and more. Notable artists such as A$AP Rocky, Anderson .Paak, Beck, HAIM and more joined the band on the road through 2022. After completing the wildly successful tour across North America and Europe this year, Red Hot Chili Peppers continue into January 2023 with eight dates across New Zealand and Australia, featuring Post Malone.

Tickets go on sale starting on Friday, December 9 at 10 a.m. at redhotchilipeppers.com.

As a result of the two album releases this year going No. 1, Red Hot Chili Peppers notably stand out as the first rock band in 17 years to achieve the feat. Moreover, Return of the Dream Canteen bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top Album Sales Chart —just like its predecessor Unlimited Love did back in April. Both albums were produced by longtime collaborator and creative confidant, Rick Rubin. Plus, it reached #1 in numerous countries around the globe.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers recently took home the prestigious Global Icon Award, and delivered a show stopping performance at the MTV VMAs. Their No. 1 single “Black Summer'' also won the award for Best Rock Video. This year, the band also garnered an MTV Europe Music Award nomination for Best Rock and scored three American Music Awards nominations for "Favorite Rock Artist," "Favorite Rock Album" for Unlimited Love and "Favorite Rock Single" for "Black Summer."

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS 2023 NORTH AMERICA TOUR DATES:

Wed Mar 29 – Vancouver, BC – BC Place *~

Sat Apr 01 – Las Vegas, NV – Allegiant Stadium #~

Thu Apr 06 – Fargo, ND – FARGODOME ^~

Sat Apr 08 – Minneapolis, MN – US Bank Stadium ^~

Fri Apr 14 – Syracuse, NY– JMA Wireless Dome ^~

Fri May 12 – San Diego, CA – Snap Dragon Stadium >+

Sun May 14 – Phoenix, AZ – State Farm Stadium ^+

Wed May 17 – San Antonio, TX – Alamodome ^+

Fri May 19 – Gulf Shores, AL – Hangout Music Festival =

Thu May 25 – Houston, TX – Minute Maid Park ^+

Fan-favorite, wood-fired Houston pizzeria quietly opens in the Heights

enough (pizza) to love

A popular Houston pizzeria has opened its second location in the Heights. The Gypsy Poet has begun a quiet soft opening in the former Fegen’s space at 1050 Studewood St.

Since its 2019 debut in Midtown, the Gypsy Poet has earned a devoted following for its wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant’s personal-sized, 13-inch pizzas exist somewhere on the spectrum between traditional Neapolitan and classic New York — too crispy for the Italians but not quite foldable like an East Coast slice. Options include a classic Margherita and the signature Fancy Backpacker, which is topped with prosciutto, truffle oil, and arugula.

Part of the restaurant’s appeal stems from its friendly service and easy going atmosphere. It regularly hosts informal musical performances and other artistic happenings.

Taken together, Gypsy Poet has earned legions on fans. Yelp users ranked it as Texas’s second best restaurant in 2021. More recently, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy awarded it a high 7.8 rating during a pizza review.

The restaurant opens at a time of transition for pizzerias in the Heights. Dallas-based Neapolitan restaurant Cane Rosso closed last year, and suburban favorite Crust Pizza Co. opened this summer in the former Mellow Mushroom space at N. Shepherd and 20th.

The Heights location of Gypsy Poet will be open Tuesday-Thursday from 5-9 pm; Friday from 12-2 pm and 5-10 pm; Saturday 2-10 pm; and Sunday 2-9 pm.

Ken Hoffman predicts how the Houston Astros will fare without award-winning ace Justin Verlander

life after JV

If you’re real quiet, you can almost hear the sighs of relief coming from Houston Astros owner Jim Crane after hearing that Justin Verlander signed with the New York Mets on Monday, December 5.

According to the New York Post, Verlander, a free agent, agreed to a two-year, $86 million deal with the Mets, with a vesting, third-year option for $35 million.

Verlander has been a model citizen and at times an amazing pitcher for the Astros since being traded to Houston in 2017. He won two Cy Young Awards while here (he just landed his historic third) and was instrumental in the Astros two World Series titles, the second earning him baseball's Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Still strong without JV

But the simple fact is, the Astros don’t need him — and certainly don’t need to pay a pitcher turning 40 years old $86 million over the next two seasons. Remember, he also spent almost all of 2020-21 on the injured list with Tommy John surgery.

That’s how loaded the Astros pitching staff is for 2023 and years after. They can say goodbye to the best pitcher in baseball and not sweat the future.

Sometimes a team’s best signings are the ones they don’t make. We don’t know what the Astros offered Verlander to stay, but this sounds like a similar situation to last year when the Astros made a half-hearted effort to keep All-Star shortstop Carlo Correa. Correa eventually signed with the Minnesota Twins and the Astros reloaded with rookie Jeremy Peña.

How’d that work out? The rookie was named MVP of the ALCS and the World Series and won the Gold Glove at short. He also scored a new grill from a celeb jeweler.

Fever pitch

Here’s how the Astros starting pitching lines up for 2023: Framber Valdez; Lance McCullers, Jr.; Cristian Javier; Jose Urquidy; and Luis Garcia — with Hunter Brown waiting in the wings. That should be more than enough and, all things considered, cheap.

Heck, they won 106 games last season, won the AL West by 16 games and roared through postseason 11-2 including the World Series title. And they’ve already signed coveted free agent first baseman Jose Abreu.

While Verlander was simply outstanding during the regular season, the Astros are built for the World Series, where Verlander historically has been disappointing. He entered the 2022 Fall Classic with a 0-6 career mark.

He gave up five runs in five innings in the Astros’ Game 1 loss this year. Verlander got a no-decision. In Game 5 the Astros were wringing their hands hoping he’d go five innings. Verlander gave up one run over five and the Astros won, 3-2, with JV getting his first Series win.

If you were building a team from scratch for 2023, who’d you rather have: Justin Verlander or 29-year-old, quality start machine Framber Valdez?

Verlander, age 40, will make $43 million next year. Valdez, a decade younger, will make one-fourth that. Valdez won both of his World Series starts in 2022.

Pitchers typically don’t get better and healthier after the big 4-0. Not $86 million better.

Looking ahead in the Age of Stupid Money

Of course, this is the Age of Stupid Money, in baseball. Last year, the Mets signed Max Scherzer for $130 million over three seasons. Scherzer won 11 games for the Mets in 2022 and got pummeled, seven runs in 4.2 innings, in his one postseason start.

The Texas Rangers just signed the supposed “best pitcher in baseball,” Jacob deGrom for $185 million over five seasons. Let’s go to the videotape, deGrom has pitched nine full seasons in the big leagues. His record is 82-57. That averages out to 9-6 per injury-riddled season. He was 5-4 last season. In his last three seasons, he’s won 5, 7, and 4 games. That’s worth $185 million? What’s that they say about the best ability … availability?

I know, deGrom has had startling earned run numbers over his career, when he actually gets on the mound. Charlie Pallilo and I have had a long-running argument. He says a pitcher’s value is based on earned run average and other statistics that can melt your mind. I say there’s only one stat that counts – wins. Jacob deGrom is not the best pitcher in baseball. The best pitcher last season was Justin Verlander, right up to the end.

And then he wasn’t.

With the Astros “saving” $86 million over the next two years, they can focus on filling needs in the outfield. It will be easier to find money to keep Yuli Gurriel and Michael Brantley. The Astros can plan ahead for José Altuve and Alex Bregman becoming free agents after the 2024 season, and Kyle Tucker and Framber Valdez a year later. Those guys won’t come cheap.

In the age of Stupid Money, that sounds like smart money.