Posts Tagged ‘Rebuild’

With the Lob City era in the rear-view mirror, the Los Angeles Clippers appear to be firmly in the Western Conference’s mediocrity bracket ahead of the upcoming season – maybe good enough to reach the playoffs, but little else.

That doesn’t mean owner Steve Ballmer plans to blow things up and tank.

“That ain’t us. Nuh-uh, no way,” Ballmer said at a season-ticket holder event Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott. “People can do it their way. We’re going to be good our way. We’re not going to show up and suck for a year, two years. I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the (Philadelphia) 76ers put in. How could we look you guys in the eye if we did that to you?”

The Clippers could have upward of $40 million in salary cap space next summer, when the contracts of Tobias Harris and Marcin Gortat – among others – will come off the books. The team figures to be a major player in the Kawhi Leonard free-agency sweepstakes, although there will be plenty of competition from others, including the Lakers.

With that in mind, Ballmer also reiterated his intent to get the Clippers out of sharing Staples Center with the Lakers and into the proposed new arena that’s currently being slowed by litigation.

“We’re moving to Inglewood come hell or high water,” the former Microsoft CEO said. “We gotta have a house. So we’re working on a plan to get our own house. We want to get our own house. It turns out the way this works in L.A., which is much beloved to me, that if you start now you might be done in six years.”

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If the Toronto Blue Jays are going to go through a total rebuild, they may need to find a new manager.

On Friday, manager John Gibbons appeared on MLB Network Radio where he addressed a report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal claiming the Blue Jays “seem destined to move on” from him by season’s end.

“Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. I guarantee you that, ” Gibbons replied when asked about this being his last season. “I learn to dismiss those things. It’s a reality though. They inherited me here.”

Gibbons is in his second stint as manager of the Blue Jays, spending 11 total seasons as Toronto’s skipper. During his two runs with the organization, he’s helped lead them to a division title and consecutive postseason appearances in 2015 and ’16.

“If my days are finished here, it’s been a wonderful ride … maybe they would benefit from getting a new fresh face that can grow with the young players,” he added.

The Blue Jays, who came into the season with their sights set on the postseason, have struggled to a 52-62 record. They’ve since traded J.A. HappRoberto OsunaJohn AxfordAaron LoupSeunghwan Oh, and Steve Pearce and appear to be moving in the direction of a rebuild, something Gibbons doesn’t appear to be interested in sticking around for.

“I’m not so sure I want to go through one of those things. A total rebuild,” he explained. “We’ll probably sit down … before it’s all said and done and talk that out.”

Earlier this week, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins refuted the report that Gibbons’ job security was in question, going on to say the 56-year-old remains part of the team’s plans moving ahead.

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider doesn’t want the team’s parting of ways with All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett, among others, to be mistaken for a rebuild.

“It’s a constant reset every single year, it doesn’t stop,” Schneider said Friday, according to Stacy Frost of 710 ESPN Seattle. “When I say ‘reset’, people are like, ‘well, it’s a rebuild.’ We’re not rebuilding; it’s just a reset.”

Schneider said the offseason departures are not unlike previous roster turnovers that allowed Sherman and others to emerge as the household names that made up the ‘Legion of Boom’ defense that competed in back-to-back Super Bowls, winning SB XLVIII.

“I’m telling you, man, there’s a lot of good young football players that people don’t know about. Tedric Thompson was one of our best special teams players this last year. He didn’t get to play much at strong safety. Kam (Chancellor) was one of our best special teams players the first year he played. He didn’t get to play strong safety because Lawyer (Milloy) was here. Trust the process, man,” Schneider said.

Chancellor and defensive end Cliff Avril remain uncertain for the upcoming season due to career-threatening injury concerns.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk shed some light on his future plans for the organization in a letter sent to its fans Thursday.

“This has been a disappointing season for our team,” Melnyk said in the letter, per Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Sun. “Our place in the standings speaks for itself. Trust me, no one is more aware of this – and more frustrated by it – than I am.”

The Senators sit 29th in the league and have endured a difficult season that began with the optimism of building off last season’s run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

“Enduring a tough year has given us a chance for clear-eyed evaluation,” Melnyk said. “This is an ongoing process, but I can tell you one thing: We are not looking to tweak our lineup, nor mortgage our future for stop-gap solutions.”

“As a team, we need to get younger, faster, and more skilled.”

Ottawa has undergone plenty of roster change over the course of the season, acquiring Matt Duchene for Kyle Turris and shipping off Derick Brassard at the trade deadline, while holding off on a potential Erik Karlsson deal that had the hockey world on the edge of its seat.

Melnyk made it clear he wants to shift the focus to his club’s future, including developing a downtown arena at LeBreton Flats and making the Senators competitive once again.

“On a personal level, let me repeat that I have every intention of rebuilding the Senators to become the finest team in the NHL and bringing a Stanley Cup to Ottawa.”

Melnyk’s entire message can be read here.

The last few weeks have not been easy for the New York Rangers.

On Feb. 8. general manager Jeff Gorton and president Glen Sather penned a letter to fans regarding the retooling of the team’s roster, with the reality being that fan favorites would be traded for picks and prospects.

The team stuck to its word, dealing captain Ryan McDonaghRick NashJ.T. MillerMichael Grabner, and Nick Holden ahead of the deadline. For goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, all that movement hit him hard on Tuesday.

“I woke up today and it’s almost like you can’t believe it,” Lundqvist said on Tuesday, according to NHL.com’s Kevin Woodley. “It’s been so many years playing together, going through so many things, and it’s just a different team.”

Knowing that teammates could be traded anytime between when the club released its statement and the deadline was certainly taxing on the players.

“It’s been a really tough stretch here for a few weeks knowing this might happen,” said Lundqvist. “A big part of our team, good friends, they are gone. … I’ve never experienced anything like this. It was new, but I totally understand where we are and what needs to be done.”

On the flip side, the Rangers were able to kick-start their rebuild with the moves they made, acquiring two first-round picks, a conditional first, a second, a third, a seventh, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Ryan Spooner, along with some prospects and younger players, setting themselves up nicely to quickly turn things around.

With the reported news that Eric Hosmer will be joining the San Diego Padresfor the foreseeable future, the Kansas City Royals now have an idea of how they plan to move forward.

The Royals will stay pat, go into a rebuild, and will not pursue any marquee free agents with Hosmer departing, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Kansas City was linked to Hosmer for much of the offseason and even had some reported interest in a reunion with third baseman Mike Moustakas, but things now appear to be going in a different direction.

“I’ve been very clear we have two objectives this offseason,” Royals GM Dayton Moore said at a news conference on Sunday, according to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. “We have to build our farm system back to what it was in 2010-2011, and we have to get payroll at a level to get us more flexible for the future.

“That period of time (of high payrolls), that phase of who we are, is over. We need to move on.”

Since the end of the 2017 campaign, when the Royals finished 80-82, they’ve made some small additions such as adding pitcher Wily Peralta, infielder Ryan Goins, and re-signing shortstop Alcides Escobar. They also traded Joakim Soria, Scott Alexander, Ryan Buchter, and Brandon Moss.

Along with Hosmer, the 2015 World Series champions lost outfielder Lorenzo Cain to the Milwaukee Brewers in free agency.

Joey Votto, still the lone drawing card on a Cincinnati Reds team that’s seemingly in perpetual rebuild, is ready to turn a new page.

Votto is coming off an incredible 2017 season that saw him lose one of the closest-ever MVP votes, but the Reds still finished in last place for a third straight season. The prospect of another losing year isn’t sitting well with the 34-year-old, who’s ready for the franchise to finally flip the script and start building themselves into a contender sooner than people are expecting.

“I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball,” Votto said, according to Cincinnati.com’s Zach Buchanan. “I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto more than did his share in 2017. He played in all 162 games and hit .320/.454/.578 – winning his sixth on-base percentage title – and added 36 homers, 34 doubles, 106 runs, and a league-best 134 walks while striking out just 83 times and contributing 6.6 WAR, per Fangraphs.

His MVP-worthy brilliance propped up the otherwise mediocre Reds. Only two 2017 teammates – Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez – were worth more than 2.5 fWAR during last year’s 94-loss disaster.

“It’s tough because even had I won that (MVP), it still would have felt awkward because we had such a down year last year,” Votto said, per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. “It’s much better going home at the end of a work day knowing that you contributed to winning baseball. It’s much better finishing a season knowing you’re a part of winning baseball. That’s been on my mind.”

Cincinnati, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 2013 and hasn’t won a World Series since 1990, could only watch its small-market division rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers, make themselves into a legitimate contender for NL Central supremacy with several high-profile additions.

By contrast, the Reds’ biggest offseason moves were inking relievers Jared Hughes and David Hernandez. They also let Cozart walk to the Angels.

“I think at some point we’ll do something similar to that (what the Brewers did),” Votto said, per Buchanan. “I can’t speak for the business side of things, but everything they’ve (the front office) ever said is, ‘We have the money and we’ll make that sort of thing happen.'”