Tom Ricketts And His Money


Through my 18 years on the face of the earth, I have been surrounded by a family of Cubs’ fans. After all, my family is the main reason why I am a Cubs’ fan as opposed to a Sox fan. It is always fun having conversations with my various family members about the Cubs. Having being a writer for a Cubs’ blog, I get the suspicion that those members in my family that follow the Cubs look to me for the latest Cubs’ happenings. Having observed my family members’ reactions to various baseball transactions, I generally can predict how they are going to react to a Cubs’ rumor that I tell them.

I consider both my Uncle and my Grandfather to be devoted Cubs’ fans. Both have followed the Cubs since the days of Ryne Sandberg, and both have suffered through the Cubs century long World Series draught. Both have much disdain for the New York Yankees, or the early 2000 Yankee teams that attempted on numerous occasions to “buy” a championship. It has always been my belief that if a team has the money, then they have every rigth to spend it.  But both my Grandfather and Uncle hold the Cubs and Yankees to two separate standards. While having disdain for the Yankees for attempting to “buy” championships, they criticize the Cubs for not using all of their available resources.

That is where there arguments lose credence with me. Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, and general manager Jed Hoyer are making use of their available resources. The fact that the dollars being spent do not translate into players being added to the major league roster does not mean that Ricketts is not spending money on the baseball department. Truth is that everything Ricketts does financially with the Cubs’ organization has some type of relation to the Cubs’ baseball department. For instance the Ricketts’ recent purchase of the McDonald’s’ lot across the street from Wrigley Field will likely serve some purpose to the Wrigley Field renovation project. Through the Wrigley Field renovation that will open up more avenues of revenue for the Cubs’ organization, thus, giving the baseball department more money to spend with.

Tom Ricketts has money, and yes, Ricketts is intent on spending that money on the baseball department. If that wasn’t the case, then there is a good chance that Theo Epstein would still be residing over the Red Sox baseball department rather than the Cubs’ baseball department. One of the biggest reasons Epstein joined the Cubs’ organization is because Ricketts assured the Cubs’ president that he would have unlimited resources to spend on the baseball department. So whatever baseball decision made has no relation to Ricketts’ willingness to spend money, it is because Epstein and company believe that is the best way to improve the Cubs’ long-term future.

One of those beliefs resulting from Epstein and the Cubs’ baseball department is to undergo a complete rebuild. Such a scenario would have the Cubs’ front office looking to trade starting pitcher Matt Garza, closer Carlos Marmol, catcher Geovany Soto, and starting pitcher Ryan Dempster. Though it is important to realize that any rebuilding that the Cubs’ do this off-season is not because of lack of money. It is because Epstein and Hoyer are in the process of renovating the Cubs’ farm system, and one of the ways they will do that is by trading away short-term assets for long-term assets. The Cubs are not going to contend in the 2012 season. The target year that the Cubs’ front office has set for the team to contend is 2013. The Cubs want to establish sustained success, and the only way that will be accomplished is by turning around the Cubs’ farm system. This means that major league team will take a step back while the farm system takes a step forward.

Cubs fans have already waited 103 years for the team to win a World Series title, another season of waiting is likely what is on tap for Cubs’ fans during the 2012 season.