Chicago Cubs Owner and Chairman of the Board Tom Ricketts and his siblings, together with certain key staff members, will be heading to the Dominican Republic this week for their quarterly board meeting.

The group will head to Santo Domingo, where the organization purchased 50 acres, just outside the city, to construct a massive, state of the art training and residential facility for scouting and player development purposes. The project is expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months, though the ground has barely been broken.

So, if there’s nothing there for the Ricketts’ to see, why exactly would they be going all the way to the DR for a board meeting? It could absolutely be about doing certain background work, shaking hands, and demonstrating commitment. I could totally buy that.


I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t think about it for a moment, and suggest another possibility.

Not to go all conspiracy theory on you, but let me offer the following:

(1) Tom Ricketts can’t travel to the Dominican Republic without people noticing, so he’d have to have a reason,

(2) Yoenis Cespedes is currently in the Dominican Republic and cannot yet travel to the United States, even though he can negotiate with teams,

(3) Cespedes’ agent says he’s planning to meet with interested suitors once he gets to the States, sometime next week,

(4) owners frequently meet with big name signings before they sign, as a way for both sides to get more comfortable with the deal.

If the logic there isn’t enough for you, listen to the way Ricketts described the trip:

“It’s a chance for some of our people who haven’t been there to see what we’re doing,” Ricketts told Phil Rogers. “It’s also a chance to reiterate our commitment to the facilities down there …. We plan to have a very strong presence there.”

That’s a total sell right there – we’re committed to facilities in the DR, plan to have a strong presence there, so if you – like Cespedes – plan to live in the DR in the offseason, hey, we’ll have top notch facilities for you.

For his part, Ricketts says he has no meetings scheduled with Cespedes, though the family does expect to take in a couple Caribbean Series games, in which Cespedes will play.

Now, am I saying Ricketts is going to the DR for the sole purpose of meeting with Cespedes? No. Cespedes isn’t expected to get the kind of $100 million contract that usually requires an owner’s sign-off after a direct meeting. Am I saying that it would certainly make sense to meet with Cespedes while he’s down their checking out the facilities? Oh yes.

Do I think a meeting will probably happen? I do. That half of the island isn’t *that* big.

  • Mike Foster

    Hope he takes time to view Cespedes’ birth certificate…..just saying.

    • Ron


      • Wilbur

        Love it …

    • Kyle

      I’m going to keep posting this an hopefully enough people will notice that this stops becoming a thing.

      Cuba keeps excellent birth records. I know there are a ton of countries south of America with kind of brownish people, but they are not all alike. The Dominican Republic is notorious for its shoddy record keeping and corrupt local officials. That is almost all of the prospects who have lied about their age have come from. A few from other countries, but none that I know of from Cuba.

      False ages come from teenage prospects in some of these countries who want to pass themselves off as slightly younger in order to seem more appealing to major-league teams (although there have been a few cases where a 15-year-old wanted to sign so he pretended to be 16, the minimum age at which a player can sign).

      Cespedes doesn’t fit that profile. His age has been widely and properly reported in Cuba since he first hit the Cuban National Series in 2003 as an 18 year old. Were they lying about it all the way back then, hoping to make him more appealing to major league teams eight years later and encouraging him to defect?

      The questions about his age fall apart under even the slightest scrutiny.

      • FromFenwayPahk

        I always seem to appreciate a Kyle-post. This is no exception.

      • hansman1982

        Well then you sir, are a Sociali-Commui-Marxi-Fascist who has no regard for the American Constitution. May George Washington have mercy on your soul.

        • Kyle

          Guilty as charged.

      • Luke


        And it goes beyond that. Cespedes is the child of a fairly famous (in Cuba) softball player. It is almost inconceivable that the local press would not have had some mention of the birth of a child of a minor celebrity. It is all but impossible for Cespedes to falsify his age.

        The pointless speculation over PEDs similarly fall apart. He’s played in international competitions that have tougher drug standards than MLB. It is highly unlikely that he isn’t clean.

      • Mike Foster

        Kyle, thanks for posting that…and post it again when the next “wonder” player comes out of Cuba. My post says nothing about color, nor did I mean it sound that way, if you took it that way, then I’m sorry. I posted because the Cubs are looking at perhaps spending $10 million a year for what, 5- to 8 years on a player that hasn’t seen one MLB pitch and his AGENT says he’s 27. And I’m sure an AGENT would never misrepresent the facts (GASP!). So, if I was approving the deal I’d want to see the official birth certificate, especially since it must be so easy to retrieve since the records are so good in Cuba. And since the records are so easy to see then I’d also want one of my” peeps” to review everything available. Seems to me that El Duque had an issue, he was Cuban.
        Like I said, just saying.

        • JR 1908

          I hear ya Mike. I think the new front office will make sure they do all their homework. But I understand your hesitation as a Cubs fan, and seeing the stupid contracts we have seen handed out in recent memory.

        • Kyle

          Fair point about El Duque. I forgot about him, though he was born long enough ago that it was a slightly different era.

  • Rian

    Right. A different but related way of looking at it says that if he *doesn’t* visit with Cespedes on a pre-publicized trip, it could be seen as an insult.

    • K Rock

      very true

  • hansman1982

    For anyone who has seen Sesame Street recently, Ricketts looks like Murray – the annoying MC of Sesame Street – in that picture above.

  • barroof

    Ricketts is meeting with Cespedes and bringing back those Cuban Cigars I asked for. It’s always good to keep that pipeline (no pun intended) open. Where is Soler ?

  • Ur Mom

    You guys always know just how to make me laugh.. None of you complained about sorianos contract when he signed. The cubs had some talent, guys like lee, and Ramirez, and henry took a shot to win.. Sorianos helped the cubs to two straight division titles and two post season opportunities. He was a huge part of that. It’s not sorianos fault the Cubs choked to death like they always do and got their asses swept out of the playoffs two years in a row, he helped get them there, and he gave em a chance.. I blame poor managing way more than soriano. The cubs should have advanced both years based on the talent on their team. What if the cubs hadn’t pulled their usual gag fest, what if they had advanced like we all thought they would? What if they had gotten to the world series, or even won? We would all agree the price we paid soriano was worth it, if they hadnt collapsed. If you wanna win a championship you have to spend money, and get big time players. Money ball was a great movie, but the a’s are never gonna win a world series that way. My whole life the cubs were cheap, at least henry gave us a reason to watch. You guys are all drooling over prospects!! F’ing prospects!! How many cubs prospects have panned out in your lifetime? It’s a joke, were gonna field a minor league team, and call them the cubs, and you guys are actually excited to watch this crap. The cubs are going to suck so hard this year it’s unreal. They will be unwatchable to anyone who enjoys watching good baseball.. And were hoping for some 27 year old Cuban kid with maybe two or three years left of his prime to save us? What a f’ing joke! We didn’t sign fielder the best hr hitter in baseball because guys like all of you just keep drinking the kool aid and hopping on the hope train year after year. Have fun watching minor league baseball at wrigley the next three years, talking about “one day” when our prospects all magically turn into superstars.. Our payroll is $40 million less than last year and ur all happy as pigs in Sh** for some reason, giddy about prospects.. 27 year old ones no less..

    • WGNstatic

      I very much agree with your sentiment regarding the Cubs going for it in 07 and 08. I would further that by saying the Cubs could have won again in 2009. So, go back to 2003, the Cubs fielded a team that could have won a championship in 03, 04, 07, 08, and 09. That’s not bad. Had the team broken through in the postseason and won a WS Hendry would have been a hero.

      Now, I must disagree though with your conclusion though. Yes, $$ helped the Cubs get to the doorstep of the WS, and they will need it if they hope to win in the future. But, no pile of $$ was going to make the 2012 Cubs a contender. Even if they had resigned Ramirez, signed Fielder/Pujols, brought in Darvish and Kuroda/Jackson/etc. I don’t think that would have been enough.

      The risk/reward with signing Soriano is that his best years of the deal (07-09) would be within the championship window for the team. That made the deal defensible at the time. The problem with going hard for a guy like Fielder or Pujols now, is that the years of the contract that would be worth it would likely fall at a time when the team couldn’t win. Then by the time the rest of the team was ready to compete, there would be a frightening possibility that the Pujols/Fielder contract would have turned into an anchor the way the Soriano deal is now for the Cubs.

      • Toosh

        Could have. Would have. Should have. Didn’t.

    • Brett

      I complained quite loudly about the Soriano contract the day it was signed. But, since Bleacher Nation didn’t exist back then, you probably didn’t hear me.

      • ferrets_bueller

        I was all over lamenting the signing back then.


        Oh….and Ur mom is pretty much well established as being a complete troll

  • ChicagOdie

    Has there been any hesitation in spending all the dough on this DR facility with all the new rules in place regarding signing international players?

    • Brett

      Arguably it’s even more important now, with scouting taking on increased importance.

      • D.G.Lang

        A late thought has occurred to me in that the Cuban free agent pitcher Gerardo Concepcion is said to be signing this week as well.

        Is this trip also to encourage him to sign with the Cubs or a signal that the entire Cubs orginization wants him? Are they there to sign him and further encourage Cespedes with that signing?

        If they also show Jorge Soler a little love on this trip it now looks like three and possibly four birds in one hand when all is said and done.

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