How about this eye-popping line in the latest from Bruce Levine, which is an article ostensibly about the White Sox’s willingness to spend.
“Has anything changed [with the Cubs’ financial flexibility]? It remains unclear, but on the flip side, rumblings also exist that the Ricketts family has signed off on the possibility of a big expenditure for a star like Harper.”
Wait. What now?
To be clear, “rumblings” could be malarky tossed about by agents or other teams with an agenda, but if this were true, it would mean that although the financial tightness is a reality, the Cubs’ owners may be willing to extend for a superstar signing like Bryce Harper. That would be both very, very good news, and also very much the right approach when you consider the value and rarity of a talent like Harper coming to free agency during a bat-needy portion of your competitive window at age 26.
Throw in the fact that the Cubs are trying to launch their own new sports network, and maybe there are some considerations here that are particular to Cubs ownership.
I don’t want to go too far with this, because it’s nothing firm, and everything we otherwise believe to be true about the Cubs’ financial situation remains in place (i.e., it’s hard to imagine them signing a $300+ million contract right now without moving out some salary first). Also, even if the report is spot on accurate, and even if the rumblings are spot on accurate, this is saying only that the Cubs’ owners have signed off on the possibility of a big expenditure – i.e., they’ve agreed that it can be discussed seriously.
But that’s something. It’s a start.
When it comes to monster signings, owners necessarily get involved. Not for “interference” reasons, but for simple reasons of approval and long-term revenue projections. This isn’t like signing a middle reliever to a two-year deal. Ownership has to be on the same page with the front office.
Yeah, I think we should keep our ears out for further rumblings.