Tom Ricketts Admits That “It’s Been A Tough Year”


Compared to other professional sports team owners, Cubs’ chairman Tom Ricketts is very media-shy. Unlike the Jerry Jones’ and Mark Cuban’s of the world, Ricketts seems to only address the media when it it is in an environment that he can control. Though in recent weeks, Ricketts has been the seen on DeadSpin for looking distraught while riding the Metra. But when Ricketts does address the media in various press conferences, he often offers up particular hints into the Cubs’ future. Unlike the time when the media caught Ricketts on the run, and when asked about the Cubs’s struggles, Ricketts replied with “We’ll be fine, it’s just injuries.”

Ricketts is currently on a tour of the Chicago Cubs minor league system, and his latest stop was in Peoria to observe the Peoria Chiefs. While the Cubs’ owner did spend time discussing how the Cubs intend to extend their partnership with the Chiefs after this season, the focus was on how Ricketts intends to improve the baseball operations of the Cubs.

"“We want our minor leagues to be as productive as possible. We do want to separate ourselves in that we want to be better,” Ricketts said in a news conference Wednesday at O’Brien Field. “We want to be known as a team that drafts and develops players better than the other teams.” Journal Star"

That has been the common objective throughout Ricketts’ time as the Cubs owner. The Cubs’ chairman wants to emulate the success of the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox have produced their fair share of players such as Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, etc. Ricketts is hoping that the Cubs can do the same. That objective has already been on display this season. The Cubs drafted a lot of players that were over-slot and tough to sign, but if they are able to sign them, it would do wonders in improving their farm system.

Though if Ricketts fully intends to be the best at developing and evaluating players, he will first have to address the team’s front office. The knock on the Cubs farm system is that the focus is lacking on the fundamentals of the game, especially when it comes to on base percentage and that sense has existed for as long as Jim Hendry has been the general manager of this team. Ricketts would not directly address Hendry’s future, but hinted that some changes could be made after the season.

"“I don’t know just yet,” Ricketts said. “It’s something we’ll decide at the right time.”"

The politically correct thing to say would have been that Hendry is under contract in 2012, and therefore, he will be the team’s general manager after the season. After all, that is what Ricketts has said on previous occasions this season. But instead of going that route once again, the Cubs’ chairman admits that he probably will consider making changes after the season. Besides, it is no secret that Ricketts is working behind the scenes to research potential front-office types. Whether it is Josh Byrnes, Brian Cashman, or Pat Gillick there seems to be the belief that Ricketts will make some type of change after the season.

Ricketts also admitted that this has been “tough year” on the baseball side of things, and he hopes that the foundation that has been laid over the past two seasons will begin to pay off in the near future. Though, the Cubs future would be brighter if there was new leadership in the front office.