The Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcasting Group appear to be on schedule to have the Marquee Sports Network ready by Spring Training of 2020.
For the past few years, we’ve heard about how much money the Chicago Cubs would have to spend once they had their own network. Once it was announced, the fans hoped they’d see the fruits of it this offseason with a signing of Bryce Harper. But money was going to be tight, as the Ricketts family bought the remaining shares from the Tribune Company, making them the full-owners of the Cubs.
So there was little free-agency money to be had, and most of it went into the bullpen, the rest to Daniel Descalso. Even with little money out this winter, the Cubs will surpass $200 million, a record for the storied franchise. That number is bound to go up, at least until the new CBA. If anything is done when that comes around is yet to be seen. But for now, the numbers are only going up.
So while many fans thought the club would use the ‘anticipated’ money to sign a Harper or a Manny Machado, the team played it cool, opting to go mostly with what they had–which isn’t a bad thing. The Cubs have a very talented team, but last year was a down year for a few of them. But if you look around the diamond at each everyday position? The Cubs look like they’re set for at least a few years.
But once the Marquee Network gets off the ground, which the hope is when the team is reporting for Spring Training in 2020, there should be money coming out of their ears. And they might need it to keep some of the star players they already have. That’s not even taking into account the free agents. The Cubs’ Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Mike Montgomery and Carl Edwards Jr. are all arbitration eligible in 2020. Bryan already got over $12 million this year. And Baez is going to be due for a sizeable raise if he keeps up the pace this season.
Per Patrick Mooney of the Athletic, Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney says everything is looking good for the launch of the Marquee Sports Network in 2020.
"“Right on schedule,” Kenney said. “We’ll be ready for February.”"
The Cubs should see an immediate jump in payroll, as the network is anticipated to bring in $50 million per year. Player extensions have become popular this season, with talented–but unproven players–getting extensions to keep them from their arbitration years. With the talent the Cubs have, and how that could translate to arb figures? Extensions would be a good move.
The Cubs shouldn’t have an offseason like this again soon. But baseball is a business before anything. You can’t ever count that out. But once the Marquee Sports Network is up and running, the Chicago Cubs should be set to have fruitful offseasons. As long as Theo Epstein and the front office make the right decisions.