Sunday, January 24, 2016

What The H@!! Are We Doing?!?!?!

About 3 weeks ago I wrote an post saying that time was ticking and we hadn't done anything yet to prepare for the season. in 3 weeks we've acquired a single new player under contract (Zach Pfeffer) and re-signed Bobby Burling while trading away Clint Irwin, selling Juan Ramirez, and trading down in the draft multiple times.  The roster is objectively worse shape than it was 3 weeks ago and horribly worse than it was when we ended the season.

Camp "opened" on Friday with the first training tomorrow.  We have a total of 20 players under contract out of a possible 28.  Guess this quote from Paul Bravo:
"Our goal is to have our team together for the start of training camp, to have all the pieces together for Pablo to start the season," Bravo told Goal USA. "Our ownership has committed to really improving our team and we have a plan in motion we feel very good about."
was meaningless. We have less than 75% of our roster in place.  I guess you could consider it accomplished as we have 6 draft picks and two trialists in camp but I can't believe that's the actual plan.  While this FO has shown itself to be clueless in the past that would be so far beyond a realistic plan that not even they could consider it.

If you assume that the average performance of players that were on both the 2015 and 2016 roster will be about equal (younger players will improve, older players with regress as age catches them) then here's the extent of the changes we've made going into camp (trying to compare like to like as much as possible)

Zac MacMath (back) in, Clint Irwin out - Probably pretty even, don't expect an improvement

Michael Azira in, Lucas Pittinari out - Not expecting much here, Azira only played 11 times last season

Zack Pfeffer in, Charles Eloundou out - This looks like a wash for 2016, time will tell which one had a better upside

Marco Pappa in, Vicente Sanchez out - This might be an improvement just due to age and maybe a better fit for the team's mentality but its not a big enough one to see us jumping into a playoff spot

Nobody in, Drew Moor, Gabriel Torres, Juan Ramirez, James Riley, Michael Harrington, Maynor Figueroa, Nick LaBrocca, Carlos Alvarez out - Having bodies that can play is a lot better than having options

Let's look back at what Tim Hinchey and Paul Bravo set as the goals for the offseason from their post-season interview with the Denver Post.

I don't like that our industry is so quick to make different decisions. And a lot of that to me is about securing stability within a club. I think if you go back the last two years, we were working toward stability, then we had the whole change with Oscar (Pareja) that created instability -- I think we're still paying for it to some degree. To me there's no reason why to change. 
"We're all going to be held accountable at the end of the day, but for this group right now, stability is the right course for action." 
"We're aligned in this. The consistency piece is a big component. " 
Clearly the word of the day for this interview was "consistency".  So how consistent is this team now?  Out of the 10 field players with the most minutes last year, 5 of them are gone (Pittinari, Moor, Torres, Ramirez, Riley).  Also our starting GK all season is gone (Irwin).  Overall 15 of the 31 players that logged minutes last year are gone.  So we've replaced half our team inclusing half our starting XI.  How is that consistency?

We never really hired a really experienced, top assistant after Wilmer (Cabrera) and the whole group left. That's something you've heard and as Woody (Paige) reported, we're interested in doing.  
"An experienced coach that can help the entire club and specifically help Pablo is a good thing."
Well they did manage to hire John Spencer, so they accomplished this goal at least.

"He's got 60 percent of the field sorted out. If you take from our goalline to the first ten yards of the opponents' half, we're as good as any team in the league.
Can he grow and flourish and get to where we need (to be) in the other half of the field? And that's what we're banking on and we believe we've been able to add some pieces and moving forward, being able to add more pieces to surround the current group will put him in a good position to be successful next year."
If Pablo had 60% of the field figured out and only needed help in the attack, what changes did we make to accomplish that?  Going back to the 6 regulars who are no longer here we moved a GK, a great defender, a right back, a defensive mid, and an attacking mid/striker.  Meanwhile we brought in a goalkeeper and three midfielders who have a variety of different offensive focuses.

How does this add more pieces in the other half of the field?  We scored 33 goals last season.  Right now this roster combined scored 24 goals last season.  We've going backwards in attacking options.

How does any of this make sense to anyone?  Its great that we have a ton of allocation money and the #1 allocation spot but that's what, 1-2 players?  Maybe 3 if we're lucky?  We're going to have to hit home runs on all 3 of them and then still sign up to 5 draftees/trialists just to have something resembling a professional roster.

From here on the couch as training starts in a little over 12 hours, this looks utterly ridiculous.

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