The Cubs’ Financial Woes May Take Them Out Of Free Agency Derby


The 2011 season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Chicago Cubs. While neither chairman Tom Ricketts nor general manager Jim Hendry would ever admit that in public, they know that the Cubs–as currently constructed–are best suited for the future instead of winning this season. Though, the Cubs were forced to go about their youth movement in the wrong fashion. Instead of the Cubs calling up their top prospects when they are ready, injuries have rushed the timeline on some of the prospects that are currently with the major league team. Specifically referring to Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu. Colvin was a player that needed to play everyday, and he was not given that chance when the season began so he was optioned to Triple A-Iowa. But the latest injury to Alfonso Soriano has forced the Cubs to bring Colvin back to the major league. The same can be said about LeMahieu as his clock was accelerated after Jeff Baker sustained a left groin strain.

To go along with the projected youth movement, the Cubs also are expecting to have a significant amount of money come off the book with the contracts of Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome, Aramis Ramirez, and John Grabow expiring  after the season. With that extra money, the Cubs planned to make a run at Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols during the off-season. But recent findings  of possible financial woes for the Cubs and chairman Tom Ricketts may have taken them out of the free agency sweepstake’s before it even begins. 

The Cubs are reportedly one of nine teams that are out of compliance with the MLB’s rules regarding debt. According to sources, the finding results from the purchase of the team by Tom Ricketts and not baseball operations. However, MLB commissioner Bud Selig suggested that there would be no consequences facing the Cubs considering the franchise’s history. Selig also came to the defense of Ricketts, saying there is no need to question the purchase and that it is unfair to Ricketts to do so.

Even though Selig is not concerned, other industry sources appear to have some concerns. Sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that the Cubs will not be able to sign big name free agents for the next two seasons because of how the purchase deal was constructed by Ricketts from the Chicago Tribune. Meaning that the Cubs will likely be spectators this winter when it comes to Pujols and Fielder.

A lot can change between now and the time free agency opens. For instance, the Cubs still may have the opportunity to sign a big name free agents. With the Cubs having $40 million coming off the books at the end of the season, the Cubs should be able to use that money on signing free agents. Considering that it regards baseball operations, and baseball operations are not the area of concern for the Cubs financial woes. By no means am I a financial guru, but, the Cubs should be able to sign a premiere free agent considering the money they will have available to them this season.