I'd Love to Tell You This is the Last Thing I'll Say on the Money Stuff

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I’d Love to Tell You This is the Last Thing I’ll Say on the Money Stuff

Chicago Cubs

But it won’t be.

It can’t be, what with so many needs still present on the Cubs’ roster, with so many free agents still on the market, and so many unanswered (in many cases unanswerable) questions. Sorry. It’s my job.

I just launched into a bit of a screed on Twitter in response to this article by Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma, and I think it bears sharing here on the site for those of you who don’t do the Twitter thing:

You can get all kinds of conspiratorial with this stuff in ways both fan-friendly (“It’s all a smokescreen!”) and un-fan-friendly (“Ownership is being unreasonable!”), but I think it’s nuts to point specific fingers with the limited information we’re ever going to receive on the outside. I stand by what I said in that thread, and I think those are all fair questions for us to be wondering about.

Ultimately, even as I grind my teeth right alongside all of you about what appears to be the risk of baseball malpractice, I know that of course this can all change in a matter of days or weeks. The Cubs didn’t sign Yu Darvish last year for another month from this point in the offseason, and they sure as heck weren’t signaling to the world last January that they were gonna do it with all the money they were happy to be spending. I get it.

Still, somehow this seems different. There’s something much more public and firm about baseball operations’ inability to add to the current $220ish million payroll. It can’t be the case that this front office doesn’t *want* to add another reliever. Or heck, Bryce Harper. There’s a reason they are not doing it (or at least feigning strongly right now that they won’t).

I don’t have “the” answer. I barely even have the right questions. Distilling everything I’ve read and everything I’ve heard all offseason, it does not seem to me that this is all a totally fabricated story the Cubs are selling in order to help their negotiating position. It just doesn’t. I’ve seen that before, and I don’t quite recognize it here. Rather, I keep thinking about the plans for a new regional sports network, the dramatically changing landscape on that front, and how things that probably seemed budgetarily reasonable just a year ago now seem much more uncertain. It would make sense to me – in an abstract way, at least –  if there were caution overall about longer term spending commitments right now until it’s more sure that the TV revenues aren’t going to fail to soar (or worse, tank).

Though I’ll still keep coming back to that final tweet there: even if there is this gloomy specter of revenue issues in the medium term, how could the Cubs organization justify going into this season without having addressed the bullpen? How can leaving that risk exposed be good for business?

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.