Rosecrans: Rebuild blues: When is it time to start trying to win?

From SABR member C. Trent Rosecrans at the Cincinnati Enquirer on March 11, 2017:

Before the 2016 season, Cubs manager Joe Maddon famously issued T-shirts to his team that said, “Try Not To Suck.” But it was the offseason before the 2015 season that the Cubs’ front office sent that same message.

The Cubs’ recent rebuild is the best-case scenario of a worst-case predicament. Theo Epstein took over the Cubs before the 2012 season, inheriting a team that had two straight losing seasons and would lose 101 games in his first year and average 95 losses in his first three seasons in charge.

Although the Cubs lost 89 games in 2014, the brass in Chicago knew things were on the right track and signed Jon Lester as a sign that the rebuild was over and it was time to win.

Heading into the 2017 season, only one team — the Phillies — has lost at least 89 games in each of the last three seasons. Four other teams — the Reds, Braves, Brewers and A’s — have lost at least 89 games in both of the last two seasons.

So the question is: when do these teams who are playing the rebuilding game know when it’s time to stop sucking? The Enquirer recently asked several general managers in various stages of a rebuild that very question.

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Originally published: March 13, 2017. Last Updated: March 13, 2017.