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How soon could Cubs spend if Wrigley deal approved?

How soon could Cubs spend if Wrigley deal approved?

A lot has been said and written recently regarding the Cubs financial state and the front office’s ability to execute their plan going forward.

There have been reports, and I have been told of some frustration in the front office when it comes to financial limitations. Even Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been telling everyone that will listen that their spending ceiling has been reached.

So when Tom Ricketts told everyone on Wednesday that the Cubs would be able to pump some money into the baseball budget (once they knew the renovation deal was approved) there were questions to be asked.

My first question was how soon would it affect the baseball budget?

Would an approval of the Wrigley upgrades allow some immediate funds for the front office to get their hands on? Or would they have to wait until some of the profits started flowing in? I asked for some thoughts on the subject.

One source thought the Cubs would spend more this offseaon (never anticipating a Dodger like payroll) thinking we could see a couple of solid additions this winter.

Another said he imagines they will spend more soon, but questioned what percentage of overall revenue goes into baseball ops?

A third was less optimistic. “I don't think they spend until they have the actual cash in their hands. Could take years.”

At the end of the day I don’t think smart Cubs fans are thinking about adding any big name players, at least not yet. It’s not about spending big really, but when you hear your front office telling everyone they are tapped out, it is unsettling.

Here is what I heard today. The bottom line is the Cubs are fully expected to be in position to spend when it counts. They will be able to add some payroll in the next two seasons, and obviously it could be affected by the scale and speed of the Wrigley restoration. Are things a little tight right now? Yes but not to worry really.

Gordon Wittenmyer for one has really been on the Cubs and Tom Ricketts case when it comes to this reported lack of resources and the way he purchased the club. The truth is the debt structure that Sam Zell and the Tribsters insisted on is a thorn in the baseball operations side. However, it shouldn’t’ stop the Cubs from staying on course in this rebuilding plan. I’m also told that even if Ricketts wanted to pay off the debt, he simply cannot by the agreement he entered.

Wittenmyer also points out some names (I gave you the other day) that Theo and Jed may have lost out on due to constraints.

Meanwhile, the debt-related crunch on the baseball end already has left the front office short in attempts to win posting bids for Asian free-agent pitchers Yu Darvish and Hyun-Jin Ryu in the last 18 months and influenced failed efforts to sign Cuban free agent Yoenis Cespedes, who eventually signed with Oakland.

If the Cubs were to be spending money right now, those would be the type of players you would want them adding.

I'm told the Cubs were the runners up on both Darvish and Ryu . If they lost out because of any budgetary limitations that really is too bad, but we may never know by how much. The Cubs may not be able to act like the big market club they are right now. Some fans may be in a hurry to see those days again.

With a renovation deal here, some contracts coming off the books there, throw in a new TV deal, and some young talent coming to fruition, the payoff will be something the rest of the division is not in a hurry to see.

Filed under: Free Agency, Front Office

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  • fb_avatar

    The more the nuts and bolts of the deal come out, the more I'm surprised Selig didn't use the best interests of baseball clause to force Zell to sell without the debt load, much like he forced McCourt out.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Mike - one can get old real quick waiting for ole Bud to CONSISTENTLY act in the best interests of baseball. That's a hammer in Selig's bag he rarely takes out....

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    I agree about Selig.

    Its been years since a Selig-appointed comittee formed to examine a possible A's move to San Jose. Nothing has come out of the group. That non-action is really hurting the A's financial planning.

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    It's my impression that the FO frustratiuon lies with not being able to sign the international FA's like Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish, Hyun-jin Ryu & Yasiel Puig...correct?

    Being able to sign two of those guys (along with Soler) would've drastically cut the rebuilding timeline.

    What other immediate impact Int. FA's are coming?

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    In reply to Ken Roucka:

    I think John had an article on it some time ago. Cubs has second most to spend so no doubt we'll get one or two of the top players.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I was talking more about he past players rather than the current crop. I'm not even sure what the current crop looks like for "immediate" impact talent Cespedes & Darvish. Also, I don't think Ryu counted toward pool money due to his age.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Right now there are no immediate impact guys out there that have declared they are coming, but I'm sure that will change. When it does, we'll have the info on them.

    I share that frustration. I know the Cubs made a serious bid for Ryu but the Dodgers went insane with their money. Same goes for Puig -- Dodgers were basically laughed at for giving a guy that much money that they had never seen play competitive ball. The Cespedes contract was not about money but the A's willingness to forfeit cost-control early in the deal. That was creative and that's what got it done. Kudos to them for that.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    That's what Wittenmyer wrote and what I heard and that is the only players I wish we had.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Gordon is a good writer but they way he has been constantly harping on the financial stuff with little to no hard evidence smacks of some sort of an agenda against the Ricketts' and/or current FO. I heard him beating the same drum the other morning on the Score.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Exactly this. Tom tweeted that he's glad that some in the media are being hard on the Ricketts. But that's only fair if the person is adequately informed. Gordon Wittenmeyer has no idea what the hell he's talking about when he talks about the Cubs finances. It's painfully obvious through his articles and his appearances on local radio. He needs to shut up and stop stirring the pot because it's clear he's in over his head on the finance side.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Tom and I were talking about that the other day. Not a bad idea for writers to keep Ricketts honest -- just in case. And agreed. As long as it's well-informed.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    True some of it may be opinion but Gordon is well informed.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    He may be well informed, but something is getting lost in translation from his sources to what he puts on the page/comes out of his mouth.

    Just because someone is telling him something and they may have information, doesn't mean that Gordon is processing that information correctly. He all but admitted that he didn't understand it on a radio interview I heard... and then he went on to slam the Cubs about the exact information he admitted to not being able to understand.

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    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Wittenmeyer clearly doesn't know what he's talking about. Having said that, he has also clearly talked to people who do know what they're talking about. His articles are most effective where he's just quoting his sources. In that sense, he's done a lot of good here by bringing up facts that no one else had dug into.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    But he still doesn't understand the basic facts, based on the article I've read (and I admit to not reading the most recent). He repeatedly brings up the Cubs debt as if it was a choice the team made due to lack of immediate resources. We've seen it reported over and over that the debt the team took on was not a choice, but a pre-requisite put out by Sam Zell in order to be in the running to buy the team.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    And now I see that he's finally addressing in this article the fact that Zell mandated the debt structure, not the Ricketts. At least he's finally starting to move in the right direction, rather than a smear campaign based on ignorance.

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    It sounds like Zell sold the team on contract, basically self-financing it. Am I wrong to read it that way?

    Normally when someone sells a property or a business, the seller gets all the money up front. The buyer puts a percentage down and finances the rest through the usual means. However, special circumstances often dictate that the seller self-finance the deal. Sometimes, it is because the buyer is having trouble getting credit the usual ways, but this doesn't appear to be the case at all. At other times, the seller wants to spread out the tax consequences of the sale, in order to limit the hit and spread it out. This appears to be what happened here. Sometimes, it's a matter of both.

    I doubt the Ricketts family would have any difficulties putting this deal together from their end. If that were the case, you'd think Selig and MLB would not have let them purchase the team in the first place. However, there were plenty of red flags in the case of Frank McCourt and the Dodgers. He was already leveraged to the eyeballs when he bought the Dodgers, but Selig and MLB allowed the sale of the team to McCourt anyways. So who knows for sure, but I suspect it's not the case here.

    It sounds like Ricketts wanted to do this deal in a way that would give him more equity up front, and Zell wouldn't or couldn't do it. The Tribsters paid $20.5M to the Wrigley family for the team and properties. The Ricketts family agreed to pay Zell around $900M. The difference on that is what gets taxed, and Big Brother doesn't allow that difference to be indexed for inflation.

    It's easy to see why Zell would want to sell the team the way he has. It's a matter of future dollars versus current dollars. He's going to pay the same no matter what, but by spreading the tax liability out, he can take advantage of inflation. In fact, it's the only way he can do so.

    What I don't understand is how this affects Ricketts' plans for the team. If he had the money to buy the team, then he still has the money, and it would seem to me that those funds are what he should be making payments to Zell out of. Often in big money transactions like this, that money gets escrowed in an account in the buyers name from which the sell withdraws payments per the details of the contract.

    What we're hearing about the Cubs and money troubles only makes sense if the Ricketts family intended to let the team pay its own way all along versus using their own money, and a profitable franchise should be able to do that.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Michael you makd a log of sense, but your penultimate paragraph is exactly what I've been thinking. I asked this on another thread but I never got a response - and maybe there isn't a good answer - but I'll ask it again. If Ricketts has thd lump sum in his hip pocket that he's itching to pay off the purchase with, but Zell won't let him, why not simply invest that capital and use the investment proceeds to offset Zell's interest charges? As you suggest, they keep paying off the debt over time to help buff up Zell's 1099, but there's no reason the debt service should be crippling, or any hindrance at all. If anything, savvy investors like the Ricketts (what's their family business, again?) should be able to earn more on their money than they're paying out in debt interest.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Not a money guy by any means but Wittenmyer says trust which Ricketts used for purchase prohibits certain amount of spending.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Now that makes sense to me.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Great analysis Michael. Everyone is quick to point out how shrewd of a businessman Ricketts is. We seem to forget that on the other side of the table was Zell who is also no dummy. If there is a way to squeeze some dollars out of his investment on the back end, he is likely to find it.

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    In reply to Ratmoss:

    Zell is not only spreading the tax hit out, but he is getting Ricketts to pay it for him. That's pretty smart.

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    I disagree with the notion that the Cubs missed out on Darvish, Ryu, and Cespedes because of money.

    Texas' bid and contract they put into Darvish was a humongous risk that could have gotten people fired if it didn't work out but Texas was desperate because their window is now and they needed a young potential frontline right-hander. Cubs aren't in a position to take that kind of risk while rebuilding. I don't think anyone knew Darvish would be THIS good.

    Dodgers flat out overpaid for Ryu, it was the consensus then and still is now. He's pitching with unsustainable peripherals right now and will come back to earth soon. Don't blame the Cubs for saving 60mil on a 4th starter.

    Cespedes didn't go to Oakland for money(at least not instant money) Cubs offered more money more years. He went to Oakland because they were willing to give him a 4yr ML deal with no arbitration so he could hit FA immediately for a big payday. It'd be a huge gamble if the team wanted to keep him but considering Oakland probably has every intention of trading him anyway they didn't care about cost-control.

    again not about the dollars. I think we'll start spending when our core players are due for extensions and that will be our advantage over smaller markets. The ability to lock up core guys and trade the ones don't out of luxury not need. Spending big in FA is hampering teams more than it's helping these days.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I'm not neccessarily saying the Cubs should have shelled out the money that the Rangers and Dodgers did however as John wrote, "There have been reports, and I have been told of some frustration in the front office when it comes to financial limitations."

    If the frustration doesn't lie with not being able to sing those international FA's, for whatever the money, then where does it lie?

    What MLB FA(s) weren't they able to sign due to the limitations?

    What trade(s) haven't they been able to execute due to the financial limitations?

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    In reply to Ken Roucka:

    I apologize I failed to note that Tom wrote this article.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    No prob Ken.

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    In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Well, Theo isn't just the GM anymore. He oversees all baseball operations on the field and off. It could be how crappy the clubhouses are, the facilities, the coaching staff down in the minors, spending on scouting and development. It could be a myriad of things Theo wants to do internally but might be limited as such.

    Cubs have money for players. If they didn't they wouldn't have been runner-up to Darvish and CO. You wouldn't hear about them at all. ie. the rays. I think there's more to this story.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I would tend to agree with you Marcel. The Cubs will start spending money when it's time to lock up core players. They will also spend on free agents when they need to, but this team is going to be built mostly through the farm and trades. That was always the plan.

    I think the crying poor schtick is an act to buy time and to put pressure the neighborhood and the rooftop owners. That said, I still stand by my rational belief, based entirely in objective reality, that it's Ricketts' property, and as long as he isn't harming anyone else physically or financially, he should be allowed to run his business his way without interference from anyone.

    For the people whining about missing out on the big free agents, let me ask them the following.

    1. Look at this from winter of 2011 through now and ask yourselves if any of those guys would've gotten us any closer to a World Series. Maybe all of them collectively would have, but no team, not even the Yankees, can afford to do that, and then you're eventually back to square one as those guys get old and those contracts start to not look so good. Any way you look at it, the Cubs still weren't going to the playoffs. Not a single one of those players people keep whining on about would have been the difference maker for this team. Meaningless wins is all they would've brought.

    2. Given the constraints of the new CBA, are the Cubs better off really sucking or being just mediocre? Anyone with any !@#$%^& common sense knows there is no in between here. If you aren't going to the playoffs, any wins that cost you draft position are pointless and stupid.

    3. Deja Vu, and Luigi I'm not talking about that strip club Arguello and Felzz hang out in after games. What comes around goes around. We may have missed out on Darvish, Ryu and Cespedes now, but there will be others when the team is really ready to take that next step. There always are, and unless the world ends, there always will be. Nothing is new in this great game or under the sun.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Even small market teams are locking up their young core players so that will not be an advantage for the Cubs.

    The only advantage for big market teams is being able to spend in free agency or trading for young talent using their farm and locking them up.

    You cant be afraid to spend
    The Cubs will have to take chances sometimes.

  • I'm frustrated with the ownership not giving their genius front office enough money to get better players. Ricketts is crying wolf about moving the team (gross), and he's crying poor while he sits on a mound of private equity cash (disingenuous). His parsimony is prolonging the rebuilding and forcing fans to watch hundreds of games of terrible baseball. The marketing cry of "Committed" might as well refer to the insanity of Cubs fans for sticking with these bumbling teams full of discarded journeymen and platoon players.

    When the Ricketts first bought the Cubs, I was encouraged by the front office he hired, the supposed financial muscle he'd bring, and his supposed commitment to preserve Wrigley. He hit a home run with his front office hires, but unfortunately he has turned out to be a mid-market owner of a major market team. He doesn't have the financial muscle to both preserve Wrigley and field a decent team while we wait years for new draft picks to develop.
    Instead we're now being asked to wait even longer for good baseball while he plasters every nook of Wrigley, as well as the air space above it, with advertising, much of it of the flashing NOTICE ME variety. He promised fresh air but he gave us Times Square.

  • We can try and dissect this 100 ways. However people have heard some of this is about money and they have basically told us that going forward. I hate the subject and hope it ends soon.

  • I would be happy doing things without spending like crazy but we should still be a top 5 payroll and the new CBA has taken other angles away.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    We should be a top 5 payroll but not just for the sake of being one like the Angels, Phils, etc riddled with albatross declining contracts.

    The Nat, Reds, Cardinals, etc have high payrolls but it's because they've locked up all their young stars and avoided Vernon Wells-type deals like the plague, they get the most for their dollar. When it's time for our core group to get extensions we'll be right up there with a high but efficient payroll.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Exactly, it has to be money well spent, not just for the sake of making noise.

  • The good news is everyone feels the money will be there but it just may be not as quick of a turnaround.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Agreed, it helps that there's really no one worth spending it on if it was there. FA is becoming a place to gamble your franchise. Too many guys at the end or past their prime looking for prime contracts and the rest are injury prone or journeyman.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    No again the only players that would have been smart were the foreign FA. I see this team as a STL or SF with more muscle.

  • John and I both agree we want to discuss other things this post hopefully tidies up some things until we get more info.

  • Other good news is we are developing more streams of information for you guys :)

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    :)

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    If ricketts knew money might be tight, was Theo Epstein - a guy who had never had his hands tied financially - the right hire? Should they have pushed harder for someone like Friedman from the Rays, who has a track record of fielding competitive teams with incredibly low payrolls?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Nah I think in the end money will be there and everything will turn out all right just slower.

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    BTW, while I don't believe there are really money problems now, that doesn't mean there won't be in the future. The money problems now are really problems per say. They're issues created by a moronic tax code and what seems to be restrictions that Papa Ricketts put on his kids' inheritance to keep them from blowing it all. However, I don't think Cubs fans are going to continue to put up with losing the way they have for so many decades. I think this new generation is a different breed. Empty seats and flipping channels or stations sends messages. I also think that if the Cubs aren't allowed to make the most of their opportunities to maximize revenues that it will eventually affect their ability to compete. I simply don't think that's been the case to this point.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    You are right about new breed of fans and that's a good thing. The honeymoon is over it lingered a long time.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I agree. It's a great thing. For years, I would get so mad. The team sucked so bad, and the Helots would just keep going to Wrigley never realizing that they were being played by the owners. I think the internet age has changed that. The average baseball fan has a higher game IQ. They see now why the team sucks. I also think 2003, the White Sox victory and the end of the Red Sox curse also made people start to look around. 2003 was to this younger generation what 1984 was to mine.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Agree 100%

  • Can you really call it "missing out" when you're dealing with these international players? It's all blind in regards to the posting bids? It's not like a regular free agent situation where there is back and forth. the Cubs lost out on Anibal Sanchez because they made an offer, Detroit raised the stakes and the Cubs weren't willing to raise back. With Darvish and Ryu the Cubs were runners up but the Rangers and especially the Dodgers seemed to have overdid it to get those players. So it doesn't seem fair to say the Cubs "lost out" for money reasons. It seems like selective reporting on Wittenmeyer's end but I'm not surprised.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    For sure, that is part of the reason I said we would never really know. However some have speculated.

  • Thank you Marcel. The media and some fans often get infected with Yankee envy - the mistaken idea that the key to success is to spend a quick few hundred million (and that spending on free agents is all that has made the Yankees successful) and every big money signing by another team is a failure.

  • It makes me laugh and cry a little when I read that the Cubs were outbid by the A's!

    One aspect of the financial situation that has been a bit overlooked are the contracts coming off the books this year and next. Marmol (~$10M) this year and Soriano (~$18M) next year will give us that much more flexibility. Depending on what happens with Garza - that is another $11M after this year. Feldman is $6M this year. Scott Baker is $5.5M. DeJesus is $4M. Stewart is $2M.

    I know there will be some trade-offs (i.e. Samardzjia getting extended or a huge jump in Arb) - but the Cubs could easily see $37M coming off the books this year (Garza, Marmol, Feldman, DeJesus, Baker, Stewart). Samardz is the only guy I see getting a big jump in Arb. Maybe Barney gets 1-2M.

    Soriano's salary will be another huge relief.

    So, even without an influx in cash for the payroll, we have a lot of flexibility in the coming years. The problem is - who do you go out and sign? Fewer and fewer FA's on the market and those are extremely expensive. But if the Cubs don't spend - fans will complain (in some instances, rightly so..)

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    I believe the Cubs actually offered more money for Cespedes. What won it for the A's was an out clause that allowed him to become a free agent after a couple of years. That didn't fit with Cubs schedule and plan. They wanted core guys that wanted to be around long term-- the A's are more willing to trade a core piece because of financial considerations anyway, so that clause was a lot less painful for them than it would be for most teams.

  • It stinks that the team is not championship calibre. It feels good to blow off steam. It's fun to wonder 'what if?' and 'why?' It's human to feel pessimistic or let down.

    But it is unrealistic to assume that a larger budget will right the ship. It never has in the past. The needed investments are being made. When the team is ready, the luxury investments will be made to put the team over the top.

    Maybe I am a fool, but on the rare opportunity that I get to watch a baseball game live, be it live or in person, I am happy. I love baseball. I love watching it played. I am terrible at playing it myself. Granted, I would like it better if my team, the Cubs, won the game. I feel disappointed when they lose. However, I realize that steps are being taken to work towards a championship. I don't think the Ricketts' assertion that this is their goal is disingenuous. Their actions to date have supported their assertion. For this reason, I look for things to cheer for in each game, knowing well that we may not be competitive for a few years. In my opinion, this is not idiotic. In past years, the 'wait 'til next year' or 'this is the year mentality' has also been prevalent. However, the actions taken by the FO to build a competitor have never been quite so thorough. This team is not a hungry college student who thinks that if he adds siracha to his ramen, that it suddenly is gourmet. This is a team that is taking cooking classes to learn to make Tuscan noodles by hand. It takes a while to make those well, but once you get it down, there are none better and they sell for a tidy profit. Strange that both baseball and cooking are built on good fundamentals.

  • In reply to CGunz:

    wow, interesting way to put it. I have to agree for the most part. Heck I'm 56 years old it's not going to kill me to wait a couple more years for these guys to come through.

  • In reply to CGunz:

    The problem is instead of having to eat ramen only while in college, now Ricketts is saying that we have to eat ramen after college too while we pay our student loans.

  • Thing is, looking at the projected free agents for the next couple of off-seasons, there's nobody that really impresses that will realistically be available.

    Of course, the Dodgers money train could run out and Kershaw could hit free agency, but I highly doubt that. Yes, Robinson Cano doesn't have a contract extension yet, but history doesn't bode well in his favor, so unless the Cubs plan on moving him over to third, I'll take a pass on him. Jhonny Peralta might also be able to hold the fort well at third while the Cubs wait for someone from the minors to finally claim that spot.

    On the pitching end, there's some guys you hope hit free agency (Lester, Kershaw, Brett Anderson) but probably won't, and then the second-tier guys (Masterson, Happ) that aren't huge targets.

    So even if the money's there, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs don't start spending significantly more right away. This isn't Hendry's front office, so there won't be spending solely for the sake of spending.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Nope you are right I don't even want the big FA I just want to spend internationally and on players that can surround the core. Money spent on pitching is always fine with me however.

  • Some may question Wittenmyer's MO. However, Im thankful for him because you need a watch dog. We can't all be falling all over ourselves at everything this FO or ownership sells us. That being said Im a believer but you don't want to be a sheep.

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    The answer to this lies within the plans and in the time frame that they are laid out. We know the first thing to be addressed is the clubhouse which isn't going to generate any revenue for the club. But we don't know when in this project they plan to add the video board and all the additional signage. Those years we will obviously see additional budget for the club. But I'm wondering if Rickett's could front the extra cash that Theo/Jed need to achieve what they need to on the baseball side and then repay themselves after the renovations.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    I think they will somehow be able to spend more knowing the money is coming back like you say.

  • Also the cubs will no longer have to spend the $10million per year in Wrigley Field maintenance.

  • It just is not the right time to hand on big contracts even if the money were there. Right now it makes sense to sign those who out perform their contract. The 'big' contract(Jackson) even looks questionable. I get impatient, and wish the Cubs would bring up AA guys, but that would be the wrong move as well. I think Ricketts is an ideal owner and like our FO as well. I am grateful for the Cubs Den, who occasionally must talk me off the ledge.

  • Thanks Slug John and I are looking on the bright side more than not but I think things are trending the right way.

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    What if all of this is a well-orchestrated plan by the entire front office. Perhaps Theo and Jed's complaints about finances effecting the ability of the team to compete is really a pressure ploy. They want to pull on some heartstrings to earn some more goodwill for the renovations plan. It seems like a strategic move by the Cubs organization to gain more power in negotiations with the City and rooftop owners. After all, a Cubs team that wins is more valuable to the city. If money is keeping us from winning, but we have the answer to get more money, people would be much more hardpressed to prevent it. The Ricketts family is ultra wealthy, and very smart business people. Do we think Epstein could publicly bash his boss for "lying" about funds that are available and have no backlash? Ricketts is not an idiot. In fact, I'd say they are geniuses for orchestrating this whole no money mantra so that they can get the renovations and upgrades they want.

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    In reply to Denvil Farley:

    Personally, I think you're on the right track Denvil. When any corporate person starts "revealing" budget information, I assume it's because they want someone else to know it, rather than just blow off steam. In this case, the most likely entity they want to communicate with is the city, the rooftop owners and any other stakeholders in the rehab negotiations. Theo in particular had a reputation in Boston for being a very close-mouthed GM, so the fact that he's suddenly expressing his frustration makes me very suspicious. And it's not like we can point to any acquisitions that they wanted but failed to make a strong effort to get because of financial limitations. Every example can be explained by other teams overspending or getting creative in a way the Cubs would not want to match.

  • Well guys there may be at least something to that. However I've heard some behind the scenes stuff that FO was a little dismayed so maybe not all of it.

  • I have a question. I'm not clear on why money is an issue for baseball operations. Many of the big contracts have expired over the past year or two (Ramirez, Fukedome, Zambrano, Dempster), so how is this money from these contracts being utilized? or is it that they couldn't afford the previous level of payroll? The latest free agent contracts are far less than those in the past.

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