Oh good, more financial discussions …
- Cubs Owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts spoke with Gordon Wittenmyer yesterday, and largely confirmed everything we currently believe about the state of the Cubs’ finances. Give it a read. In short, Ricketts confirms that servicing the debt used to purchase the team does come out of the revenue the Cubs generate (and thus reduces the amount of money available for use by baseball operations), though he cautions that it’s less than we might think. Ricketts says that the baseball budget does not inhibit anything that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer want to do (which, to my ear, conflicts with what Epstein said about spending more at the big league level right now in an ideal world), and the lack of payroll spending right now is merely reflective of The Plan. Once again, you get the sense that big-time spending isn’t likely until the TV deal is re-negotiated, the Wrigley Field renovation is underway, and attendance starts creeping back up (there’s that chicken/egg issue again).
- None of that surprises me, and, as I wrote earlier in the week, I generally buy it. What’s harder to parse is the language/tone of the article, itself, which has a more dire feel than how the organization paints things. At some level, that’s to be expected, but I keep coming back to: what if it’s simply true that not spending a lot on payroll right now really does make the most sense for everyone involved, given the state of the rebuild and the state of the business operations? Does that mean the same thing as “cheap”? Just as concerns about a lack of wins weren’t going to pop up for me until 2014/2015, concerns about “cheapness” aren’t going to pop up for me until 2015. Since Epstein and Hoyer took over, the only free agent they’ve missed on that really bothers me is Yu Darvish – and that wasn’t really an open bidding system. Maybe Anibal Sanchez, too. (But not necessarily Yoenis Cespedes – looked at his numbers lately?) So, at bottom, what are we left with when it comes to a lack of spending? In these two offseasons, big-time spending wouldn’t have made sense anyway, whether they had the money or not.
- Speaking of some of that stuff … yesterday’s announced attendance of just over 20,000 fans was the lowest since 2002. But, hey, then the 2003 Cubs were surprisingly good, and things turned around!
- Dioner Navarro’s career year continues after another big game yesterday. He’s hitting .305/.369/.515 on the year, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t go into the offseason hoping he could land a starting job somewhere. The Cubs would undoubtedly like to have him back in a pairing with Welington Castillo next year, but Navarro may have played himself into the pricey luxury range, when it comes to back-up catchers.
- If you were concerned about the young fan hit by the bat yesterday when Giancarlo Stanton accidentally let it fly, it sounds like he’s OK.