Chicago Cubs: Tom Ricketts ‘feels strongly’ the team can win as built

Tom Ricketts / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Tom Ricketts / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Tom Ricketts / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Despite his decision to handicap the front office financially, Tom Ricketts believes his Chicago Cubs are the best team in the National League Central.

I mean, Tom Ricketts kind of has to say he believes in the Chicago Cubs. After this disaster of an offseason, it’s not like he can hold court with the press down in Mesa and drop a, “Yeah, we have some serious holes and we just kind of have to roll the dice and hope for the best this year.”

So when Ricketts told the media on Monday that he believes his club is the best in the division, it didn’t really surprise me. He may very well be correct, given the amount of talent on this club.

In recent months, the Cubs refused to spend – keeping their eye focused on the $208 competitive balance tax number and working to cut payroll to get under it to re-set the clock on penalties. We watched the likes of Pedro Strop and Nicholas Castellanos walk for this reason, among others.

"“It’s a financial penalty that grows over time for the number of years you’re above the threshold, and then it gets into a player penalty, which you have to be careful to avoid,” Ricketts told the Chicago Tribune. “Like I said, it’s a factor. I don’t think it’s the defining factor, but it’s definitely a factor that every team has to deal with, at least every large-market team.”"

Despite their best efforts, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer sit at just over $212 million in luxury tax payroll – which would equate to a $1.4 million luxury tax bill landing on Ricketts’ desk. There’s still time to balance things out and get under, which is a near-guarantee at this point. But we’ll have to see how the front office makes it happen.