Tom Ricketts Speaks: Rooftops, Outfield Signage, Spending, Playoffs

tom ricketts cubsChicago Cubs owner and chairman Tom Ricketts addressed the team today in Mesa, Arizona, and then spoke with the media. You can catch a great deal of his comments on Twitter, and Jesse Rogers also grabbed some audio.

Some of the informative highlights:

  • On the continuing rooftop battle, there was nothing new to report. Ricketts said that the two sides are talking on an “ongoing basis,” but he didn’t want to get into any specifics on the few outstanding issues to be resolved, presumably because it’s a negotiation situation (and commenting on specifics can only hurt). Ricketts did say he was “still pretty optimistic that we’ll get to the finish line.” The Cubs want to be in a position to start work after the season.
  • Ricketts said it’s not a matter of just making a couple final concessions to the rooftops, because “you have to have control of your own outfield. We can’t live for the next 100 years with this kind of situation. We have to know it’s going to be over if we’re going to invest in the park.”
  • Ricketts’ comments make you wonder whether the last piece to be hammered out, rather than the precise locations of the outfield signs or the modification of any current terms in the rooftop agreement, is the parties’ relationship after 2023, when the rooftop contract expires. Crane Kenney mentioned it at the Convention as one of the issues to work out, and I’ll confess ignorance: I still don’t quite understand what is going to be holding up the Cubs from doing whatever they want with the outfield once the contract is up. The Landmarks Commission has already approved a master sign program that would allow the Cubs to expand their outfield signage, but the Mayor has indicated that the Cubs have agreed to a 10-year moratorium on additional outfield signs (beyond the two at issue currently). So, if the Cubs don’t add any new view-blocking signs until 2024, I don’t see how the rooftops would have any standing to challenge that Landmarks Commission decision (since 10 years will have passed), and they wouldn’t have a contract to rely on anymore, either.
  • Ricketts said it is the Cubs’ intention to have the right field Budweiser sign (the 350-foot see-through one) up by Opening Day. That suggests either that the Cubs are calling the rooftops’ bluff about suing over that sign, or the sides have come to an understanding that the sign is OK.
  • On a question that essentially prodded Ricketts to agree that if he’d just threatened to leave Wrigley Field a few years ago, the renovation would be done by now, Ricketts said that, because of the unique nature of Wrigley – paraphrase: it’s not just some 20-year-old ballpark out in a suburb somewhere that nobody cares about – it wasn’t realistic to just take a page out of another teams’ playbook, so to speak. In other words, the way I’m hearing it, Ricketts agrees that the threat wouldn’t have been taking seriously at the time, and thus wouldn’t have helped.
  • … however, Ricketts says, “if we can’t grind out these last few steps, I don’t know what’s going to happen.” I think that’s fair to say, even if some will say that’s just Ricketts making another hollow threat.
  • Ricketts was pushed on the drops in payroll over the past few years, but there was nothing new offered. There are certain financial restrictions because of the structure of the Tribune sale (which Ricketts implied will eventually go away, though he didn’t quite say so explicitly), and baseball ops money is being spent in other places than just payroll. When asked if the owners were engaging in “profit-taking,” Ricketts answered with an almost offended, “Profit-taking? I don’t even know what that means. Of course not. Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous.” Obviously fans can choose to believe Ricketts or not, but he has been consistent for a very long time that whatever money comes in the door is put right back into the organization in some way.
  • Ricketts was asked the obligatory question about the Cubs’ chances in 2014, and he gave the obligatory answer for an owner: he likes the Cubs’ chances to surprise and be a playoff contender. And before you rip him for being foolish on that, stop and think for a moment how you’d react if the owner of the damn team said, “Yeah, I think we’re probably going to be terrible this year, but maybe we can stay out of the cellar in the NL Central. Er, um, come celebrate Wrigley’s anniversary!” His answer, like the question, is meaningless. Ignore it.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

271 responses to “Tom Ricketts Speaks: Rooftops, Outfield Signage, Spending, Playoffs”

  1. Funn Dave

    It definitely sounds like he’s talking post-2023. One thing at a time, Tom.

  2. Jon

    There is a difference between a obligatory answer and a flat out lie. (that also contradicts statements from your front office)

    1. MightyBear

      Shut up

      1. Jon

        I’m still waiting on your analyis of why you think the Cubs will surprise this year, outside of just posting “The Cubs will surprise this year” every day.

        1. MichiganGoat

          Doesn’t matter what anybody says you will just complain it’s your sad existence on here.

          1. MattM

            So Michigan Goat are you saying that the Cubs have a chance, and what is your basis in that?

        2. jammin502

          The Cubs record to begin 2014 will be 0 – 0, this will also be the starting score of every ballgame. So at this point, the Cubs have a chance and they could surprise if some things go their way. Like? Castro and Rizzo have bounce back years and take steps forward. Lake continues to improve. Wood continues to pitch like last year with some better stuff from Samardzija and Jackson. Olt regains form. We somehow get some offense from second base. There are a lot of “ifs”, but hey, hope springs eternal!

          1. CubFan Paul

            “Castro and Rizzo have bounce back years…Lake continues to improve. Wood continues to pitch like last year…some better stuff from Samardzija and Jackson…Olt regains form…somehow get some offense from second base”

            Still won’t be enough to surprise

          2. ClevelandCubsFan

            I would look at it like this… and it’s very unlikely but here goes…

            Shark moves forward with peripherals and lives up tto them beecoming a true TOR (but not ace)
            Wood improves a bit and poata similar numbers to last year (improvements offsetting regression)
            Jackson does his thing and has positive regression
            Arrieta and Hammel put it together as legitimate No. 3/4 types

            is as better on the field as it is on paper

            Infield. ..
            Steps forward couples with positive regression from castro and Rizzo. Barney would help but isnt necessary. Castillo gets a touch better. Olt wins the 3B gig amd hits .250/.290/.450 or better (rough numbers)

            I think we can mix and match as long as we get consisrent production. Lake emerging as a legitimate 4th OFer with respecrable defense would make this a lot easier.

            Baez or Vitters coming up and giving us some extra bang from LF and 2B would be icing. Doesnt need to be early in the season.

            This would make us very competitive but.still reliant on midseason acquisitions and probably things breaking down a little for STL and PIT.

            highly unlikely but within the realm of other worst to first stories.

    2. JCubs79

      It literally cannot be a lie if it’s something that hasn’t happened yet. If he had said, “Yeah we made the playoffs last year,” Then it would be a lie.

  3. V23

    However, that’s when “reporting” matters from the Cub beat “reporters”. The follow up question is:
    “Then why didn’t you add a piece or two to aid that ‘surprise’ possibility?” “Do you think the fans will believe that given that you’ve reduced payroll over 30% ” ?

    Eh, but Jesse was just happy to let him say whatever he wanted unchallenged. Hey Jesse- stick to the “horse” basketball pictures.

  4. CubFan Paul

    “how you’d react if the owner of the damn team said, “Yeah, I think we’re probably going to be terrible this year”

    The Mets Owners have been pretty forthcoming.

    The Twins owner has been honest about payroll & expectations.

    & i’m quite sure they’re others

    And I doubt even Theo would say he likes the Cubs’ chances to surprise and be a playoff contender

    1. Jon

      It’s a condescending and silly. There are literately hundreds of positive things you can say about the organization without saying something you down deep down is not true.

      1. CubFan Paul


      2. roz

        Grasping at straws aren’t we?

      3. hansman

        How in the hell did he do anything but say (using different words):

        “Unless we get lucky and this team surprises the shit out of me, we ain’t making the playoffs. Although, that is why you play the damn games, sometimes teams surprise the shit out of their owners who realize that, odds are, their teams aren’t making the playoffs this year.”

  5. dreese

    We can’t make the playoffs doesn’t Tom realize we suck. :)

  6. Kyle

    Eh, it’s February. Sooner or later all this Cubs Way crap and video rooms and ST facilities have to got to result in us getting more out of our players. Maybe we get lucky. It’s certainly not completely impossible.

    1. Jason P

      Unfortunately, because of the lack of offseason additions, a lot of luck now takes us from 72 wins to 82 wins instead of 78 to 88.

    2. Professional High A

      So…we are definitely making playoffs? Everyone look at what Kyle said! He confirmed we are definitely making playoffs, NLCS at a minimum!

      I kid. It was just weird to see Kyle posting something about winning is a possibility. And a winning season is a possibility, in the sense that if nine guys are on the field there is techinically a chance that they can win every game.

  7. itzscott

    >> how you’d react if the owner of the damn team said, “Yeah, I think we’re probably going to be terrible this year <<

    Seriously, that's pretty much a knee jerk impression about how fans would react.

    Really, would it make any difference? Would anyone become less of a fan because of what an owner said? Isn't the point of being a fan being able to form your own expectations or non-expectations?

    I would've been okay with him just coming out & saying that it looks like it could be a tough year, but it's baseball and anything can happen over a long season.

    1. Patrick W.

      If it doesn’t make a difference and you would have been okay with him saying something different, then you should be okay with what he said, because nobody is going to be less of a fan because of what an owner said.

      1. itzscott

        I AM okay with what he said because it doesn’t matter. He has his opinion and crystal ball and I have mine, just as you have yours.

  8. aaronb

    Am I the only one that sees the logic flaw between:

    ” “Profit-taking? I don’t even know what that means. Of course not. Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous.” Obviously fans can choose to believe Ricketts or not, but he has been consistent for a very long time that whatever money comes in the door is put right back into the organization in some way.”


    “Ricketts was asked the obligatory question about the Cubs’ chances in 2014, and he gave the obligatory answer for an owner: he likes the Cubs’ chances to surprise and be a playoff contender. And before you rip him for being foolish on that, stop and think for a moment how you’d react if the owner of the damn team”

    So what are we supposed to take from this Brett? That we should absolutely rubber stamp Tom Ricketts at his word on the first item…..Yet understand that he is completely full of BS on the 2nd point?

    If he is obviously going to lie about being a contender…Why are you so sure he is a monk of honesty and integrity in regards to the Club financials? Wouldn’t it be just as much in his interest to lie to fans about that as well?

    1. CubFan Paul

      TV revenues rising $20MM, payroll dropping to $85MM (appears the $110M cap is still in place) from $106MM is the very definition of profit-taking

      1. aaronb

        They chopped almost 16 million dollars off of that 106 figure last year in summer trades. The actual spent money on 2013 payroll was closer to 90 from the reports I’ve read.

    2. Patrick W.

      I think Brett allows that you might not believe him on that point. I think that because I managed read the sentence directly followed by the quote: “Obviously fans can choose to believe Ricketts or not, but he has been consistent for a very long time that whatever money comes in the door is put right back into the organization in some way.”

      Brett did not say take him at his word. He said make up your own mind, but as a point of data, this is what Ricketts has always said. That’s really different than saying he’s a monk of honesty (awkward phrasing, what’s a monk of honesty?)

  9. Cubsin

    The folks who do Monte Carlo projections for the 2014 season give the Cubs a 1-2% chance of reaching the postseason. Admittedly, a lot of things would need to go right for the Cubs and wrong for the other teams for that to happen. But it is remotely possible, so Tom didn’t lie. At worst, he’s guilty of being a giddy optimist.

  10. Kyle

    There’s a free agent who became eligible to sign today, who is the perfect age (23), who could fill one of two gaping holes in our current lineup and is considered MLB-ready.

    I want him.

    1. roz

      Does he have a name?

      1. aaronb

        Robert Paulson

        1. Edwin

          that gave me a chuckle.

    2. Jon

      I’m lost Diaz who?

      1. roz
        1. Jon

          I’m intrigued. My guess is he signs with the Dodgers.

          1. Noah_I

            There are some rumors around the internet he could be a big target for the Yankees as a Jeter replacement

            1. MattM

              The Cardinals have made an offer now!!!! UGH!!! If they get him GOD!!!

          2. DocPeterWimsey

            I would be surprised if the Yanks didn’t go after Diaz heavily. Of course, I’ll be surprised if the Dodgers don’t, the Cubs don’t, the Cards don’t, the Sox don’t, etc.

  11. woody

    I just don’t see this team getting out of the cellar this year. With the return of Braun and the addition of Garza the Brewers appear to be an improved team. Even with regression I don’t see the Reds or Pirates falling that far. Playing in a weaker division would really help, but it is what it is. Really the only thing the cubs have to look forward to is a better W/L record and more clarity in regrds to who will be the core going forward.

    1. aaronb

      I think this team is significantly worse than any team in my Cubs memory. We are down 2 good starters (Garza/Feldman, Dempster/Maholm) and 2 good OFers (DeJesus,Soriano) from teams that averaged almost 100 losses over the last couple of years.

      I’d consider it a minor upset if we avoided 100 losses this year.

      1. college_of_coaches

        L’oubli, et je dirai même l’erreur historique, sont un facteur essentiel de la création d’une nation, et c’est ainsi que le progrès des études historiques est souvent pour la nationalité un danger.

      2. dw8
        1. aaronb

          That 2006 team was much more talented than this incarnation. Zambrano is far superior to any pitcher we have. Aramis, 50 games of DLee, and quite honestly Matt Murton and Jack Jones were all better hitters at that point than anyone on this roster.

          The only thing we might be superior in at this point is rotation depth 3-5.

          1. Jon

            The 2006-2007 comparison is probably the worst example you could cite considering that after the 2006 season they also when out and got Soriano, Derosa and Ted Lilly who contributed 10+ wins themselves to the roster.

            The 1984 example was pretty good, though there were a lot more established players on that roster. Baez could be the “Sandberg”

            1. aaronb

              I didn’t think that 2006 team was awful going into that season. Though I was disappointed that we didn’t land Furcal and Brian Giles. They really needed to find another Starting pitcher that offseason as well.

              They just couldn’t withstand losing DLee, Prior and Wood. Though not many team can withstand losing their best position player and 2 or their best 3 starting pitchers.

            2. dw8

              This has absolutely no connection to the original thought from aaronb. I was citing the 2006 season because that team was particularly bad. The reason for it sucking or the ramifications later was not a particular concern of the comment. That team (the one playing the games) was dreadful.

              1-25 the 2014 roster might be equally talented to that 2006 team.

            3. DocPeterWimsey

              The 1984 Cubs team actually was a pretty lucky team, too. It wasn’t just that they played above their peripherals (they won about 11 more games than they should have, something less than 2% of teams have managed over the last 52 years): the 1984 Phillies won 14 fewer games than they should have given their peripherals. In the last 52 years, only 5 of the 1368 other teams have deviated from expectation (on the negative side) by that much. Only 11 have deviated by 14 games or more one way or the other in that time!

              That is part of why the 1985 “crash” shouldn’t have surprised us: the Cubs actually were nowhere near as good as their 1984 record implied. (Of course, having your top 5 starting pitchers on the DL at the same time is going to nuke any team, good or bad.)

              1. DarthHater


                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  Do you know, I was crushed to learn that. The 1984 Cubs were my first real heartbreak, and I honestly had thought that they were a really strong team. Whoops.

                  (Funny story: I’d just broken up with a girlfriend the week before; a couple of weeks later, one friend mentioned to another that I seemed to be taking the breakup kind of hard; second friend noted that it had nothing to do with the girl and everything to do with the Cubs. He was right!)

                  ((Wait, that story actually isn’t very funny at all…))

              2. Napercal

                Look at the Cubs record that year in mid- May before the pitchers all got hurt. They were pretty darn good. I also disagree that the 84 Cubs were lucky. The only starter that exceeded his peripherals was Dernier. Cey and Bowa were just hanging on. Matthews was at the end of his career. Durham performed near his career average. Sandberg really made a huge leap, but was more indicative of things to come in the future.

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  The 1984 Cubs had a net OPS of 0.023. You expect such a team to win about 86 games. Over the last 52 years, 80 teams have had a net OPS from 0.020 to 0.026. 50% of them won between 83 and 91 games. 90% of them won 94 games or fewer.

                  Now, the Cubs starting rotation going on the DL (literally) killed any chance that they had. However, a big difference came from the offense: the 1985 Cubs scored 76 fewer runs despite having the team OPS drop only 0.013. If it seemed like the 1984 Cubs got an inordinate amount of “clutch” hits, then it’s because they probably did!

          2. Rich H

            OK I was with you until you brought up Murton. Matt Murton was a horrible singles hitter who should never have played a power position (like it or not RF is a power position).

            1. aaronb

              Career OPS’

              Rizzo .735
              Castro: .726
              Castillo: .748

              Murton .788

              1. dw8

                Offensive context?

                1. aaronb

                  Career OPS+

                  Murton 100 (though he was 112 at that point of his career)
                  Rizzo 100
                  Castro 96
                  Castillo 104

  12. miggy80

    Here comes the Three little Pig theory I posted about on the message board. Which little pig are you? Jon we know you built your house out of straw.

  13. Jason Powers


    “When asked if the owners were engaging in “profit-taking,” Ricketts answered with an almost offended, “Profit-taking? I don’t even know what that means. Of course not. Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous.” ”

    1) He knows what it means — Chicago Booth MBA alum. If he wanted to say, we are engaged in both creating a successful long-term franchise and making profits too, that would be addressing the what he’s in it for.

    2) Calling it ridiculous and being almost offended — falls into (doth protest too much) response.

    3) “Aren’t obvious to everybody on the payroll side” — speaking to baseball investments. Details???? Actual numbers help you sell this course of action better. Say we have X scouts, hired Y coaches, and Z player development specialists. And pay above the league average to get the best….that would be an answer.

    4) “Structure of the deal” and “a few strings” — clarify it for me like I am 5 year old.

    5) “The fact is…” —-was followed by Zero Facts, talking about the deal. (“The way it was presented.”)

    6) “Constraints” are “tedious and boring” – under Non-Disclosure Agreement. Not to me they aren’t. The reason you didn’t go get public funding is the public scrutiny. (See: Miami Marlins)

    7) He, “doesn’t know gonna happen,” if the deals are not worked out with the rooftops. —–Tom knows actually what he’s gonna do – he didn’t get into business being unable to make logical forward thinking decisions.

    8) “When you say baseball investment you mean payroll.” – no, but you clarified it (for the journalist) to equating this for fans knowledge.

    9) “We blew through the Dominican cap [4.55M].” —-But you spent more than that amount on 6M Jason Hammels. And save $13.65 million last season on payroll (Brett article). Fungible dollars….

    1. miggy80

      This little Piggy built his house out of straw

      1. Brocktoon

        Is this the new thing? Non-sequitur insults to people who criticize anything?

        1. miggy80

          Not insulting read my post on the message board. I just look at the rebuild like the childrens book The Three little Pigs. One pig built their house out of straw the second built his house out of sticks the third built his out of bricks. Read the book if you want to see how it ends.

          1. CubFan Paul

            It’s insulting, especially when you apply the straw tag to Jason’s post.

            1. hansman

              It’s insulting because I don’t agree with it!!!!!!

              1. CubFan Paul

                No, I agree with it, but apparently he can’t read or was too eager to promote the message board

                1. hansman

                  It’s insulting because I agree with it!!!!!


                2. miggy80

                  and this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home.

                  1. Fishin Phil

                    OK, I’m going to throw the “Mixed Piggy” penalty flag on that one!

                    1. DarthHater

                      Did somebody call me?

                    2. miggy80


        2. YourResidentJag

          He’s just pretending that he’s the big BAD WOLF and will drive out anyone who disagrees. ;)

          1. miggy80

            I know it’s silly but some of the debates on how the rebuild is going had me thinking of the Three pigs and how they built their house’s and made me think the analogy worked for building a successful MLB organization. I posted my thoughts on the message board.

            1. Brocktoon

              I just read it and it’s more insulting than my initial impression:

              Fan X is too stupid to understand it takes years of failure to become a good mlb team. He is a borderline sociopath
              Fan Y is a big stupid baby who has no idea how baseball works. He is a total sociopath and probably beats his wife.
              Fan Z is smart, handsome and knows baseball really well. He has a big penis too.

              Ya know just some observations about different types of fandom

              1. aaronb

                Who has two thumbs and is fan Z?……This guy

            2. Jason Powers

              I took no big offense.

              But I understand how they are going about it. It will take 5-7 years before you get knocking on any playoff door with the bottom up approach. So, 2016-2018 is the 1st window. Sure, if Rizzo, Castro, Baez, Alcantara, Hendricks, Edwards, Bryant, and Almora all succeed to the levels we want, that window will be achievable. Maybe a Dominican dandy will somehow play a factor…

              Still need some TOR pitchers to make that plausible…Hendricks and Edwards would be a quantum stretch as one has 88-89MPH fastball, and Edwards, has endurance issues to overcome. Else, he’s best a closer…assuming a lot on all of that.

              And FA is going to play a factor…are resources gonna come? That’s the $99 million dollar daily question on here.

              This owner is not appealing to me. That’s all. And his words – I could cross examine him on, and did. Don’t you think you could to?

              1. Fishin Phil

                I agree with some of what you say Jason, but I still don’t see where any team owner is under obligation to share that much detail with either the media or the fans.

                1. Jason Powers

                  No, but he should be a bit clearer about things.

                  Sorry, I have my opinion on him. Which is different from the FO, BTW. And down the line…

                  1. miggy80

                    J Powers thanks for playing along and seeing the humor and logic in my analogy :)

  14. salesguy

    I don’t know why people are so up in arms about the guy who spent millions of dollars to buy the team being optimistic, that’s what business people do with their investments, and businesses, especially billionaires, pessimism is bad for value period.

    And for all of the fortune tellers out there, just remember people expected squat out of the 84, 89, and 98 team, as an owner, with the bullpen and starting rotation they are fielding, we will be in a lot of games, and if you are at .500 or just over, come trade deadline, I think we will all see why this FO is worth every penny. Couple that with Baez, and Bryant possibly coming to town, and we may be in for a surprise or two. Take a look at some of the predictions for that 84 team, there are a lot of similarities. If I were Rickett’s, I would be optimistic as well.

    1. miggy80

      This little Piggy built his house out of Bricks

  15. Bill

    I find it difficult to believe anything Theo or Ricketts. With Theo you get carefully phrased sentences that are open to multiple interpretations. When talking about business operations and “The Plan” I now take everything they say with a grain of salt. It took Theo 2+ years to basically admit he was just kidding about the duel fronts. None of this means I don’t think they want to win and are trying to do things to build a championship team.

    1. miggy80

      This little Piggy built his house out of Sticks

  16. hansman

    Um, so when Ricketts says that the team could surprise and be a playoff contender he isn’t being forthright that the Cubs, realistically, have no shot to make the playoffs?

    Or did he say “HELL YA!!!! WE ARE MAKING THE PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR!!!!!! BOOK IT DAN-O!!!!!” Maybe Brett is lying about what Ricketts said.

    Mmm, I guess when folks are predispositioned to not liking a person/group it doesn’t matter what the fuck they say unless they say exactly what those folks want said.

  17. Jon

    If the FO truly thought they could make the playoffs, then you would have seen a better effort this off season. That’s a major piece of “The Plan”

    So which is it:

    “This team in locked in to 65-75 wins so tossing $$$ at players doesn’t make sense, spend when ready to compete”

    “In theory this team could surprise and win 85-95 games”

    You can’t have it both ways

    1. hansman

      You can have it both ways, fairly easily.

      Projections have this team winning somewhere less than 77 games; however, no matter what the projections are, there is some small percent chance of making the playoffs so, in theory, if you were to run a simulation of this season enough times, a team with a .1% chance of making the playoffs is going to make the playoffs ~.1% of the time. If the Cubs have a .1% chance of making the playoffs, that means that we should expect a team as crappy as the Cubs to make the playoffs once every 1,000 years. This *could* be that year.

    2. roz

      Yea you can. That’s that definition of surprise.

      1. Jon

        The front office knows that deep down this team has virtually no chance of making the post season. That fact has driven the off season strategy.

        1. hansman

          The offseason was driven by an apparent payroll cap and Tanaka.

        2. roz

          Which means if we make the post-season it will be a surprise.

    3. Fishin Phil

      Nothing is “locked in”. You act as though the have already lost 100 games before they even step on the field.

    4. bbmoney

      I just don’t get this thought process. There’s no room in your world to consider the possibility that sure there were moves that might have helped the team this year, but weren’t in the best long term interest of the team given the price it would have required?

      You make moves based on more than just one year. You make moves based on what you think is the most likely, there are no absolutes. I don’t get the bright-line either or mentality.

      1. Jon

        There have been plenty of moves available that could have benefited the roster short term, and would have NOT been detrimental to long term success.

        The plan of multiple 90+ losing seasons was calculated.

    5. salesguy

      @ Jon, actually both could be true, this team could win in the neighborhood of 65-73 wins, it is possible. However, this is baseball, and there are a ton of factors that could effect this. Career years, lightning in a bottle, young players take a step forward, young players come up and deliver immediately etc, etc. Are we a locked in playoff team, no, but could those things described above, coupled with a savvy deadline deal (ala Rick Suttcliffe) could result in more than you think, continue to be pessimistic if you like, but I get the sense, like 84 (a year in which not much was expected), this team could gain confidence early, then all bets are off.

      1. Jon

        I actually agree that surprises can happen in baseball. But the odds of a 65-70 win team winning 85-90 games is not realistic when you look at the off season additions. Also consider the FO is NOT going to rush prospects, so we shouldn’t expect major contributions to them.

        I do think a 75 projected team could surprise and sneak in the wildcard, which why this whole, “throw our arms up in the air and tank seasons” philosophy aggravates me.

        1. aaronb

          But what one single free agent could we sign that takes us from 60 wins to 90 wins?

          Unless we can find that 30 win player who wants to come here for under market, and be under 28 and guarantee that he will be at peak performance his whole cubs tenure. I don’t even want them to try to win at the MLB level.

          1. MattM

            AARONB I totally agree. This is absolutely the story that Theo and company have carefully crafted…. Most of the people on this site have bought this story hook line and sinker….

        2. salesguy

          I don’t think tanking is or was intentional, they did the best they could, with what they had under the new CBA. The difference between 65 and 72 wins doesn’t mean anything now, but 5 years from that point, it could make all the difference in the world.

          1. MattM

            You either purposely tank or you don’t. Last year’s starting team was not intended to tank, but this year’s is. You don’t unintentionally load a team with players that don’t win unless you are trying not to win….

            1. aaronb

              Failure to plan=Planning to fail

        3. Fishin Phil

          “I do think a 75 projected team could surprise and sneak in the wildcard, which why this whole, “throw our arms up in the air and tank seasons” philosophy aggravates me.”

          Doing it at the beginning of the year aggravates me as well. Doing it in early July, (flipping short term assets for long term) does not bother me if you are clearly out of the race at that point.

  18. DarthHater

    So, a threat to leave Wrigley made a few years ago would not have been taken seriously, but a threat to leave made after the Ricketts have invested millions in properties surrounding Wrigley should be taken seriously? Come on, Tom, nobody could take that logic seriously.

    1. hansman

      Noone takes DarthHater logic seriously either, but yet you continue to post.

      1. DarthHater

        Well, that was gratuitous. Need to have your meds adjusted again, Joe? Or just crabby from a dearth of cheeseburgers?

        1. hansman

          Feeling extra punchy from a surplus of meaty pattys.

          1. DarthHater

            Ahhh. :-D

          2. CubFan Paul

            “meaty pattys”

            There’s place here in Indy that sells “Jamaican Patties”.

            Seasoned meat (mild or spicy) in a bread/biscuit pocket. I buy’em by the dozen.

  19. Rick810

    Clearly the rooftop owners want an extension of the contract beyond its current 2013 expiration as a quid pro quo for any settlement. That would explain why the post-2013 relationship remains an issue.

    1. aaronb

      Cubs draw revenue from them. Why not at least think about extending the contract?

      1. CubFan Paul

        The Cubs want to put up more lucrative signs in 2024

        1. aaronb

          I’d say you leverage the signage against any rooftop agreement extension.

          1. CubFan Paul

            According to Ricketts&Co there will be no extension. The $4MM or less a year the rooftops give the Cubs is far below what in-stadium signage would bring.

            1. MattM

              Paul, think about this from a business aspect….The Cubs PROFIT 4 million from what the Rooftops give to them. They don’t have to worry about employee’s insurance, liabilities, pay etc., etc., etc.,. This is truly an asset to the Cubs, but they don’t see it as that….

              1. aaronb

                That is how I see it as well.

                The only way it makes sense for the Cubs not to renew and take that free money. Is if the ultimate plan is to block those views and starve out the rooftops.

                Then the Cubs could scoop up those rooftops and make them Cubbie property.

              2. mjhurdle

                the whole $4 million a year thing is nice, but if the Cubs think they can make $10+ a year with signage, then there is absolutely no reason to continue any relationship with the rooftops longer than they have to.

                i have no clue what the Cubs estimate the signage value at, but it seems like the most realistic scenario is not one where the Cubs spend money and time fighting rooftops just so that they can take equal or less money from advestisements.

                1. aaronb

                  I don’t see how signage can effect every rooftop. Seems like those two things should be able to coexist?

                  1. mjhurdle

                    I don’t see a way for them to coexist at all really.
                    The signage will affect *some* rooftops. But the only way the rooftops have a seat at the table is by standing together. I don’t see a way that they could not stand up for the rooftops that are getting affected and still maintain the same leverage at the bargaining table.

                    1. aaronb

                      People tend to look out for their own interest. If 11 or 12 of 13 rooftops can insure their long term viability. I have a feeling a rooftop or two will get voted off the island.

                      Especially if something can be done to make that rooftop somewhat whole.

                    2. mjhurdle

                      Well, I have no idea what the rooftops themselves are thinking. But i know if it was me, I would be very worried if they started cutting off rooftops. At that point I would feel that we would exist at the leisure of the Cubs. If they wanted another sign up, they would make sure that it only affected one rooftop, and then we would boot them next to save ourselves.
                      I would be worried about when it would be my turn to lose my view, or when it got to the point that there were so few rooftops left that we simply had to hope and pray for whatever scraps the Cubs threw us.
                      But like I said, i don’t know their minds, and I don’t know how much the Cubs think that the signage is worth. Without that it is hard to really do more than speculate.

                2. brickhouse

                  The Cubs will get 10 million a year for 14 years from Budweiser for the right field sign and jumbotron

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    That doesn’t include the Jumbotron

                    1. Pat

                      So they are going to get 10 million a year for the Bud sign, but the Toyota sign was only 600,000 a year. Doesn’t seem likely

                    2. hansman

                      Where are you getting that dollar amount?

                    3. Pat

                      This has it closer to 700,000, but I believe the final figure was closer to six.

                      Your turn to link to the Budwiser deal.

                  2. Pat

                    Where are you getting that dollar figure?

                    1. Brocktoon

                      Bruce levine tweeted it

                    2. CubFan Paul

                      “Doesn’t seem likely”

                      It’s been reported as such for over a month now by multiple ppl

                    3. CubFan Paul

                      “it’s the whole Anheuser-Busch deal, not just the RF sign”

                      The Jumbotron is separate also

                    4. Pat

                      So it includes stadium beer distribution rights? That makes more sense. I still can’t find that dollar figure reported anywhere.

                    5. Pat

                      Again, if it includes distribution rights, that dollar figure makes a lot more sense than if just for a static sign.

              3. CubFan Paul

                “PROFIT 4 million from what the Rooftops give to them”

                In-stadium signage pays more and has doesn’t require employee’s insurance, liabilities, pay etc.

                1. Pat

                  The Cubs have no insurance, liabilities, or pay as far as the rooftops are concerned. They are paid what is essentially a licensing fee.

                  1. CubFan Paul


                2. MattM

                  They can have both……Why does it have to be one or the other…..

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    The can be an other but that other after 2023 will have blocked views

  20. Darth Ivy

    I wish people were as critical and bothered about political reporters and politicians as they are of sports reporters and FOs/owners

    1. Jon

      I’ve known my whole life politicians were full of shit, I’m just realizing the Cubs owner is too :)

      1. Darth Ivy

        it’s just amazing how people care more about how their favorite team is being run than how their country/state/city is being run. They care more about Ricketts lying than powerful politicians lying.

        ok, sorry about bringing politics into this. I’ll stop now.

        1. Jason Powers

          I actually care a great deal about how my country is run. And its a mess. Infrastructure, education, expenditures ran amok, etc. No focus on the future – a PLAN. (Ha Ha.)

          And have written as such…elsewhere.

      2. YourResidentJag

        Try working for the government for 10 yrs….let me tell ya….boy that was fun. ;)

        1. cubsfan08

          How to become a Jag 101:

          “Try working for the government for 10 years…”

          1. YourResidentJag

            You have a good point. :)

        2. Jason Powers

          I am sorry for your painful experience there in GVT. Well, it did win us WWII. So, there is that. (Strange: the last time people were more likely for, than against the GVT (in general), the Cubs were able to appear in a World Series.)

          1. YourResidentJag

            I wasn’t really painful. It was frustrating. I worked for the Social Security Administration. Our computer system was woefully behind the times. So much so that we missed out on tracking claimants to see if they were due additional benefits and pay them properly. Then, there’s all the scams against the elderly which irritated me and the fact that the general public was undereducated about the benefits and how it fit into their overall financial picture. So, yeah, crazy, stressful job. I miss helping others. I don’t miss the job. But thanks for the consideration. Let do the best we can to get through the season. C’mon Baez! :)

            1. Jason Powers

              I actually appreciated the SSA. When my mother was terminally ill, I had to apply for her disability and SS. It actually did go well. But I hear you on the scams and undereducated public. But I appreciated the guy who helped me sort it all out – medical records, application, etc. It went better than…well…anything else at that time.

              I’ll get through ok. I have no expectations at all really. The conversations are dulling here. Repetitive, but it is what it is.

              The progression of prospects will pretty much be 2014, I think. If I had one hope, it would have been to make some sort of trade of note.

  21. Sandberg

    You know, when reading up on Dallas Green a couple of days ago, I came across this gem on wikipedia (all caveats to wikipedia content apply).

    “Green was the first Cubs executive to clash with the City of Chicago over lights in Wrigley Field. Green was a strong proponent of lights from the start of his tenure, but a city ordinance prohibited the Cubs from installing lights in the residential Lakeview neighborhood, where Wrigley Field was located. As Green saw it, the issue wasn’t lights or no lights, but Wrigley Field or move to the suburbs. Bluntly stating that “if there are no lights in Wrigley Field, there will be no Wrigley Field,” he threatened to move the Cubs to a new stadium in northwest suburban Schaumburg or Arlington Heights. He also seriously considered shutting down Wrigley Field for a year and playing at Comiskey Park as tenants of the White Sox, in hopes that the loss of revenue would temper or eliminate neighborhood opposition. Green’s stance changed the context of the debate, as even the staunchest opponents of installing lights did not want to be held responsible for the Cubs leaving town. Shortly before Green’s departure, the Chicago City Council and Mayor Harold Washington (who died a week later) approved a change to the ordinance, allowing the Cubs to install lights in 1988.”

    Hmm… Dallas Green made a serious threat to move and shit got done. Who would have thought? The reason nobody would have taken Ricketts seriously is because he has misplayed the entire process from the beginning. He comes across as weak and easy to refuse.

    1. Kyle

      “The reason nobody would have taken Ricketts seriously is because he has misplayed the entire process from the beginning. He comes across as weak and easy to refuse.”

      Absolutely correct.

    2. Patrick W.

      “The reason nobody would have taken Ricketts seriously is because he has misplayed the entire process from the beginning. He comes across as weak and easy to refuse.”

      Absolutely incorrect. When Dallas Green came to Chicago, Wrigley Field was 30 years younger than it is now, was still closing off the upper deck for some games, had not drawn more than 1.7 million fans IN THE HISTORY OF THE PARK, did not have lights, and had exactly 2 seasons of playing on WGN being distributed on national cable networks.

      Comparing 1982′s situation with today is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen on these boards. Dallas Green, in no small part, is the reason nobody would take Ricketts seriously today.

      1. Patrick W.

        And I left out the rooftops!

      2. Orval Overall

        You’re totally right that the situations are different. Ricketts still comes across as feckless and weak. The idea that they wasted an entire off-season with no progress at all on the expansion because of the mere THREAT of a lawsuit from the rooftops is an almost unbelievable sign of weakness. If the threat of their claim is such a concern, take it head on, file a declaratory judgment action, and get the goddamn thing resolved already. Or call their bluff and just start building – after all, what are they afraid of given that they have city council approval, and the contract that got leaked exempts any attempts to expand Wrigley.

        He’s either being dishonest with the public (e.g., delay is not the result of threats from the rooftop), or honest but incredibly weak.

        1. Patrick W.

          I don’t think you understand the situation as well as you think you do.

          There are a lot of dependencies on the expansion, and a lot of money is at risk. To secure the materials and contracts to get this stuff done is a massive undertaking. To embark on that and then have a judge issue an injunction would be hugely expensive. If you find it weak because they aren’t calling their bluff it means that you’re pretty damned sure it’s bluff, and I haven’t seen anything to me that suggests it’s a bluff. If they decide to challenge the zoning authority in court, it could take years to complete.

        2. Patrick W.

          And none of that changes the idea that comparing Ricketts now to Dallas Green 30+ years ago is monumentally dumb.

      3. Sandberg

        You’re wrong here. This process was taking place over the mid 80s after the Cubs had drawn 2+ million 2 or 3 times. You’re also correct that Wrigley was 30 years younger and there wasn’t cement falling on fans’ heads requiring $100s of millions in repairs. But given the hyperbole at the end of your statement, I don’t expect much in the way of discussion on your part.

        1. Patrick W.

          I’m happy to discuss with you, but the fact is, Dallas Green talked about moving from Wrigley after the Cubs lost a lawsuit in the Illinois Supreme Court in April of 1985. 1984 was the only year the Cubs has drawn over 2million, and there was no expectation that anything other than winning would continue that. Now, it’s pretty clear that the Cubs can draw more than 2million each year even if they are terrible.

          1. When The Musics Over

            Which is an absolutely amazing luxury some sports franchise owners have. It’s incredible how well the Bulls drew during that decade long stretch of absolute futility (yes, without looking, there was a year or two of relative mediocrity). The Cubs, like the Bulls, get to enjoy mulligan after mulligan. Pretty nice, eh!!!

            1. Patrick W.

              You won’t get an argument from me about that! It just reinforces the notion that this is why Ricketts can’t be taken seriously if he threatened to move.

              The idea that Dallas Green was a bad ass who got shit done and Tom Ricketts is a pussy so he can’t get stuff done is not a very accurate analysis.

              1. Bill

                However, the Cubs wouldn’t have to draw as many fans in a new stadium to make the same revenue for the games being in Wrigley. Moving to a new stadium would allow them to build plenty of luxury boxes, play more games at night, all the advertising they want, make money from parking, hold as many concerts as they want. They could also build a bigger stadium than Wrigley which would let Ricketts maximize profits in years they are good.

                The White Sox have drawn around 2.3M+ fans for a number of years, whether they are good or terrible team. The Sox neither play in a great neighborhood or park. At least during my lifetime, they’ve always been the number two team in Chicago (and that includes some god awful 70′s Cub teams).

                Tom Ricketts threat to move wasn’t taken seriously because his heart was never into seriously considering it as an option. However, just because his heart wasn’t into it doesn’t mean leaving Wrigley couldn’t have been a very viable threat. He should have listened to his siblings.

                1. Brocktoon

                  New comiskey has been open for 23 seasons. It’s drawn 2.3m+ for 7 of those seasons. They haven’t drawn it since 08 and barely eclipsed it the year they won the freakin World Series. They had 13 non strike shortened winning seasons in this span. I can’t think of many teams worse than the white sox when arguing the benefits of a new stadium in some place nobody wants to spend more than 3 hours of their free time(I.e. Rosemont, Naperville, et al)

                  1. Bill

                    I’m not sure where you are getting your numbers but pretty much everything you wrote is wrong. From ’91-2012 the Sox have drawn 2.3M (rounded) 16 out 22 years. 4 of those years were ’94-’97 was when attendance all through MLB was down because of the ’94-’95 strike. Putting aside ’94 and ’95, because of the strike impact, the Sox have never drawn under 2.2M (sorry didn’t know 100K was a big deal to you).

                    You are also wrong with you “haven’t drawn 2.3M since ’08″ claim. They drew > 2.3M in ’09, ’11, ’12, and in 2010 drew 2.289, which rounds to 2.3M.

                    The Sox never, in the history of old Comisky drew 2.3M. So, thanks for highlighting my case and making it stronger. Much appreciated. Just because you wouldn’t watch a game in the ‘burbs, doesn’t mean most other people wouldn’t.

                    Here’s a link for the attendance numbers.

                    1. Bill

                      Mea culpa. Unfortunately I can’t edit post above. I was looking at the wrong column for the Sox attendance. The numbers I was referencing were the AL attendance numbers, not the Sox. My fault. Your point about the White Sox is correct, Brocktoon, and my apologies.

                      My main point was attendance could be less at a suburban stadium and they could still make as much money as they do playing at Wrigley because of additional revenue sources that would be available. How much less it could be to “break even” is a question mark until you knew how much additional revenue (ads, parking, luxury boxes, etc) would available in a new stadium.

  22. Diehardthefirst

    Facebook looking to diversify could be a suitor especially if 5% Zell charade addressed- 2 billion dollars is pennies to them and would solve all of Ricketts headaches

    1. Jason Powers

      While your “talking,” hit Apple up for their cash. Sitting on $100B plus. Apple could buy up all the MLB teams 3 times over – talk about a “rotten to the core” Apple investment. :)

  23. BennyTheJet

    who says no?

    Cubs get: Kyle Zimmer, Miguel Almonte, Sean Manaea, Bubba Starling

    Royals get: Jeff Samardzija, Arismendy Alcantara

    1. Jon

      It’s actually not that far fetched, it’s essentially Samardija and Alcantar for Zimmer & Manaea.

      Almonte is nothign special, and Bubba Starling is garbage. His ranking is based on whatever hype is left.

      1. Isaac

        I actually agree. It’s a relatively fair trade, though I think the Royals say no just because of the “name” value of their prospects. Frankly, I wouldn’t be all THAT excited about that return for a package of Shark AND AA.

      2. Luke

        Starling’s value is based on tools and ability, not just hype. He isn’t garbage.

        1. Jon

          He’s 21, it’s been almost 3 years since he’s been drafted and he’s still muddling in low a. Overrated.

          1. Luke

            The Royals are moving him at a a level a year pace, which is fine given how unpolished he was when drafted. He’ll be 21 in High A this year, which is also fine.

            He’s not a Baez level prospect by any stretch, but he isn’t garbage.

            1. Isaac

              Well, I suppose he may be “garbage” in BH’s world…Starling=Starlin=Garbage. :-)

            2. CubFan Paul

              His numbers don’t suggest he’s ready for High A, unless his Low A team is in an offensive oppressed league

          2. Isaac

            Again, have to agree. The hype machine got pretty hot for him, anymore he looks like a throw-in for a deal like that.

            You won’t find the Royals giving up both Zimmer and Manea, but it would take a similar package to that for the Cubs to let both Shark and AA go.

            1. Norm

              Sure, but “garbage”? I don’t think so.

              1. Isaac

                I was agreeing to “overrated”, and not “garbage”.

                1. Jon

                  We could give them back Matt Szczur and call it even!

      3. Jason P

        Almonte is every bit as good of a prospect as Manaea.

        1. NorthSideIrish

          Almonte was listed #1 on BA’s list of prospects who didn’t make the Top 100 but could be Top 50 next year. Definitely not garbage.

          1. Isaac

            The reference Jon made was for Starling, not Almonte; but yes, Almonte is a legit prospect.

            1. Jason P

              “it’s essentially Samardija and Alcantara for Zimmer & Manaea.” is what I was referring to.

            2. NorthSideIrish

              Sorry…I don’t actually read Jon’s comments.

  24. Theo Epstein and Rick Renteria Also Say the Cubs Can Make the Playoffs | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] Yesterday, Chicago Cubs owner and chairman Tom Ricketts addressed the media on a variety of topics, including some really salient stuff on the Wrigley Field renovation and rooftop discussions. […]

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