MLB is an extremely competitive league, and not every team can contend year in and year out.
That’s why there always are rebuilding teams, actively waiting for their next contention window to open.
But what do these teams need to do to ensure a smooth rebuild?
3. Be Patient!
If a MLB franchise feels the need to enter a rebuilding phase, it should know that the process requires patience and there is absolutely no guaranteed ‘ETA’ (short for estimated time of arrival) for contention.
Rebuilding means that there will not be many wins in that specific season because the idea is to try and play young, promising players to see which ones could be part of the future of the organization.
Additionally, rebuilding also means that the roster is constantly in flux, and veterans on a hot streak or those who are still performing at a high level, but are close to free agency, may get traded and the roster will be weakened.
That’s why patience is required because when this phase starts, it can take only a few months, like the New York Yankees’ subtle rebuild of 2016, but it can also take years, like the Pittsburgh Pirates’ current situation.
2. Don’t Ignore The Draft And International Free Agents
A rebuilding team needs to be on the lookout for talent in all its shapes, forms, and sources.
That’s why they need to be active in the International Free Agency period.
Young amateur players are often filled with skills and promise, and with a few years in the minors, they can pan out and be major contributors down the road.
The San Diego Padres, for example, have been active in the amateur free agency period for years, and they started seeing the results in 2020 and 2021.
A few notes on minor league rosters for the #Padres:
11 of 17 pitchers on @Storm_Baseball signed as international free agents.
2 catchers from Mexico. Outfield of Mears and Hassell will be fun to watch.
Anderson Espinoza working as a starter (!). I’ll have a preview up later
— Kevin Charity (@madfriarskevin) May 3, 2021
The MLB Draft, of course, is another excellent way to add talent to a rebuilding franchise.
Here, the rebuilding organization will likely have access to the very best picks, so drafting well is important.
By drafting well and being active in the international market, a rebuilding team can not only secure the stars of tomorrow, but it will also replenish their farm system and give itself weapons to be active in the trade market.
1. Maximize Trade Value
A rebuilding team will always have, at least, one desirable trade asset: a player so good, so talented, and far enough from free agency that he has the potential to bring multiple top prospects in return.
For rebuilding clubs, maximizing the value of these players is extremely important.
In the 2016-2017 offseason, the rebuilding Chicago White Sox were going nowhere and the Boston Red Sox were looking for an ace.
Moncada and Kopech are now key contributors in a contending team.
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) December 8, 2016
Those are two examples of what rebuilding teams should look for when it comes to maximizing trade value.