A Blueprint to Rebuilding


Almora is a big bat still on the market.

New York, NY – You see it time and time again. A team enters Spring, full of hope and optimism – “This is our year,” the fans proclaim. By June, this proclamation is void, and the team, now more than ten games back in the division and well below the .500 mark, decides the best course of action is to sell off parts and “rebuild.”

The “R-word.” It carries such negative connotations. But does it have to? Is the point of rebuilding to tank, to be as bad as possible, to put forth no effort to improve? To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with trading away pieces, especially those who don’t factor into long-term plans. That’s a good strategy for any club, but that’s only phase one of a rebuild. Once that initial season ends, too often, we see a rebuilding team sit on their hands simply content to be as bad as possible and collect a top ten pick. And that’s when it happens- a budgetary crash.

Budgets are a funny creature in the OOTP world. They’re driven by three primary areas – attendance, media and merchandise. And all three of those areas are driven 100% by success. The more successful a team, the more money that team will make which means the more budget room a team will have. Teams that tear everything down without any attention towards trying to maintain competitiveness see that budget drop, 10%, 20%, even 30%, and it takes years to bring it back. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

If you’re a team intent on rebuilding, look at the models employed by a handful of teams in our league who have done it successfully – Tampa, San Jose, Cleveland and others. These teams have gone through dips in success, but none ever ripped their teams to the point of competing for a Pacific Coast League title. And none ever went through an offseason quiet. They signed players they could use to improve, to win, and if things went south, to trade for more depth. Because depth is the key. And creating as much depth as possible is what separates the truly great teams from the one-hit wonders.

So, if you’re a team in the middle of a rebuild or contemplating such, do it the right way. Be smart with your money, sign players to short-term deals that will have value to other clubs and when the time is right, swap those players for young, controllable assets. It builds depth, and it’s a far, far better blueprint than sitting on your hands and waiting a decade to accumulate enough high draft picks to field a team.