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.