It has been widely speculated that the Cubs business side has been holding back the baseball operation.
Is the business bunch also writing expectation checks the Cubs front office cannot cash?
The thinking has been the overall lack of progress regarding rooftop battles and a substantial television windfall has stalled Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer from making progress on the field.
Yet, we all have heard by now that this front office doesn’t want to throw money at their problems. That is both smart and true, to a degree.
I’m sure Theo and the gang would have liked some more ammunition to land attractive IFAs much like Masahiro Tanaka.
Much of the media stories paint an ugly picture that the Cubs swung and missed badly on Tanaka and Joe Girardi. Paul Sullivan’s piece today is a prime example of what shape the public perception is taking these days.
But Epstein and Hoyer also have had to deal with the embarrassment of losing out to the Yankees on manager Joe Girardi and Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka after reports and tweets from prominent media outlets suggested they were set on spending any amount to snare Girardi and prepared to "blow away the field" on Tanaka.
Yes, the Cubs went hard after Girardi. Their offer supposedly bested the Yankees, but he simply wasn’t leaving New York, like many suspected all along.
The front office was always more realistic about that scenario anyway.
Could the same be said for the business side? They desperately wanted Girardi to be the new face of the team.
Regarding Tanaka, Barry Rozner, like Sullivan pointed to those reports (including what I was told) that the Cubs simply wouldn’t be outbid for the prized free agent.
There were varying reports on the Cubs bid, but no matter what it was, they were simply outbid.
Rozner, while on WSCR yesterday, pointed the finger directly at Cubs biz honcho Crane Kenney. Rozner speculates Kenney has been behind leaks to create the perception he is heavily involved in the baseball side as well.
Yet, I hear that Kenney has been quite clandestine in his dealings. In other words, he isn't doing any talking. That would actually put him in lockstep with the quiet front office.
Furthermore, Julian Green does all the public talking these days for the non-baseball issues.
The hiring of Green was viewed as a shrewd move for the Cubs, due to his Chicago political prowess. He would probably be even more ballyhooed by now, if it weren’t for those pesky rooftop businesses.
Wherever any leaks may be coming from, they aren’t helping. Epstein likes to manage expectations, not raise them.
When it comes to the front office’s frustration with the business end, it is more of a problem that could develop down the road, less a current issue. That is somewhat encouraging.
One source firmly believes Theo and Jed are content building up assets for now. Yet, when they are ready to compete the money better be there or things could get ugly.
After the last few seasons, I shudder to think what ugly looks like.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.