Rockies' Tracy resigns after franchise-worst season

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Rockies' Tracy resigns after franchise-worst season

From Comcast SportsNetDENVER (AP) -- Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy resigned Sunday, stepping down after the team set a franchise record for losses.The Rockies said a search for Tracy's replacement would begin immediately but they have no time frame for making a hire. Colorado finished last in the NL West this year while going 64-98.Tracy was promoted from bench coach to manager in May 2009. He was voted the NL Manager of the Year that season after guiding Colorado into the playoffs.The Rockies went 294-308 under Tracy."I was surprised," Bill Geivett, the team's director of major league operations, told The Associated Press. "You know, Jim and I go back a long time. We worked together for three different clubs."Basically, Tracy called me and told me his intentions and we talked about a lot of different things, but he had already made up his mind," said Geivett, who also worked with Tracy in Montreal and Los Angeles.Energized by the young players and the challenge of fixing things, Tracy had said repeatedly the last several weeks that he wanted to fulfill the final year on his contract in 2013. But he changed his mind after meeting with Geivett for several hours on Friday and then mulling those discussions over the weekend.Asked why Tracy resigned, Geivett said: "I don't think there was any one thing in particular that seemed to stand out, but you'd have to ask him that."Tracy didn't return phone calls and texts from the AP.Geivett said he wanted Tracy to return next season."I mean, that's how I started our meeting on Friday, that he was the manager of the club," Geivett said. "Like I said, it was surprising."Geivett, however, didn't try to change Tracy's mind."His decision was made when he called me and I respected that," Geivett said.Geivett said he had no timetable for hiring a new manager: "All the focus has been on Jim Tracy the last few days here and I just got the call today, so we'll start to formulate a plan."The Rockies will be the fourth team to change managers this year. Boston fired Bobby Valentine, Cleveland dismissed Manny Acta and Houston let go Brad Mills.Things changed for Tracy on Aug. 1 when Geivett, the assistant general manager, was given an office in the clubhouse and began focusing on roster management, particularly as it related to the pitchers, and evaluating the coaching staff and the rest of the players. Tracy's responsibilities were narrowed to game management and meeting with the media."I thought we worked together fine," Geivett said. "I don't think at any time since Aug. 1 or even before that, we've had some type of difficulty working together."Geivett said that structure will remain in place next season but he said he didn't think that would be an issue in his search for a new manager, either.In addition to altering their front office, with general manager Dan O'Dowd focusing his attention on the minor leagues and player development, the Rockies last summer adopted a radical four-man rotation and a 75-pitch limit with several designated piggyback relievers, an experiment that lasted two months.Geivett said the Rockies will return to a traditional five-man rotation next season with pitch limits determined on a case-by-case basis, "although I don't think we'll ever go back to the days of 120 pitches.""I'm sure it'll come up" in the search for a new manager, Geivett said of the four-man, 75-pitch experiment. "But I mean, I don't see that being a major topic of conversation, to tell you the truth, because we're not doing it."Tracy, the fifth manager in club history, was given an indefinite contract extension last spring but it guaranteed only his 2013 salary of 1.4 million as field manager and really just represented the organization's desire to keep him in the organization in some capacity.Geivett said he hasn't met with members of Tracy's coaching staff to discuss their futures in Colorado."Any time you change the manager, things can change," Geivett said. "Right now, it's all undecided. But we do have coaches that it would be our intention to retain."

Three things to know about Ravens sixth-round pick Keenan Reynolds

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Three things to know about Ravens sixth-round pick Keenan Reynolds

We are profiling the Ravens’ draft picks as they prepare to start minicamp Friday. Here are three things to know about sixth-round pick, WR Keenan Reynolds of Navy:

1. The biggest push to draft Reynolds came from assistant general manager Eric DeCosta.

DeCosta, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and coach John Harbaugh were visibly moved talking about making the phone call to Reynolds. All of them admire the way Reynolds has handled himself at Navy, both on and off the field.

When Newsome made the call, he put Reynolds on speaker phone so that everyone could hear his reaction. “Everyone in the room could be a part of telling him that we picked him,” Newsome said. “It was a special moment.”

2. Reynolds is much more than just a symbolic pick.

The Ravens believe Reynolds can stick as a punt returner, and that he has the athleticism and work ethic to become a polished slot receiver. Reynolds has many qualities inherent to top punt returners – good judgment, vision, elusiveness, sure hands, and speed. The Ravens also like that Reynolds has been working with CSN’s Brian Mitchell, a former Pro Bowl punt returner with the Redskins.

“Fortunately, we have a great relationship with Brian Mitchell,” DeCosta said. “We did our homework on him. He’s a guy that was a player of interest to us throughout the process. We kept it very quiet and, and it worked out the right way.”

 3. The Ravens are willing to wait if military obligations prevent Reynolds from playing right away.

Naval Academy graduates are obligated to a five-year military term, but Reynolds has hope of being able to play this fall. The Patriots drafted Navy graduate Joe Cardona last year as a long snapper, and he was granted permission to play. Cardona spent one day a week working at a Rhode Island naval facility. Reynolds hoped a similar arrangement could be worked out for him.

“I’m hoping and praying, and I’m confident that this potentially could be the same type of situation with myself,” Reynolds said. “It’s a blessing that the Ravens felt I was worthy to take a chance on with the military obligation and my service commitment.”

Will Matt Elam make Ravens in 2016 after fifth-year option declined?

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Will Matt Elam make Ravens in 2016 after fifth-year option declined?

It was no surprise the Ravens did not pick up the fifth-year option on safety Matt Elam by Monday’s deadline. The bigger question is whether Elam even makes the team next season.

The 32nd pick in the 2013 draft, Elam has been one of the biggest first-round busts in team history. Some of the standout players who went after Elam in that draft include Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short (44th), Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (48th), and Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins (52nd).

Elam missed all of last season with a torn biceps, after underperforming in 2013 and 2014. Elam was a big hitter in college at Florida, but has struggled with missed tackles as a Raven, and has been even worse in pass coverage. With the Ravens acquiring safety Eric Weddle in free agency, and Lardarius Webb switching from cornerback to safety, Elam is expected to be a backup at best. He will compete with Terrence Brooks, Kendrick Lewis, and others for a backup role.

Elam is scheduled to make $1.327 million next season, before becoming a free agent in 2017.  However, Elam’s first priority is to secure his place with the Ravens in 2016.  

AFC North: Steelers LB James Harrison will return for 2016

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AFC North: Steelers LB James Harrison will return for 2016

The Ravens can expect to see Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison as an opponent again in 2016. Harrison confirmed on his Instagram account Monday that he would return for another season.

Harrison will turn 38 years old Wednesday (May 4), but he was still effective in 2015 with five sacks and 40 tackles playing in the Steelers’ linebacker rotation. With his announcement that he was returning, Harrison wrote “I’m feeling just like a fine wine. Getting better with age.”

Despite Harrison’s age, the Steelers believe they got younger and better on defense through the draft. Five of the Steelers’ seven picks were on defense – cornerback Artie Burns (first round), safety Sean Davis (second), defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (third round), outside linebacker Travis Feeney (sixth round), and inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich (seventh round).  

Clearly, there will be plenty of new names in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry, with both teams looking to get younger and faster. However, Harrison plans to be part of the mix for at least another season. The Ravens host the Steelers in Week 9, and visit the Steelers on Christmas afternoon.

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