Tom Ricketts Says the Cubs “Have the Resources” to Compete in 2022, and “We Will Use Them”

For the most part, I am completely neutral about fluffy messages that a team sends out to fans. Some folks take too much positive from them, and some folks get really pissed off for no reason. I just don’t really see much reaction to react strongly in either direction.

Anyway, Chicago Cubs owner and chairman Tom Ricketts today sent fans a letter – the day the team announced the new GM hiring, incidentally – about the year that was and the years that are coming. I’ll share it below in full for those who didn’t get it and want to read. Like I said: I just don’t think you should take too much from it.

But I do want to call out one section in particular, if only because it’s one of those baselines that you keep in your mind for later, when you can evaluate moves and decisions against what was said previously. You keep it in your mind for posterity. Here’s what Ricketts tells fans about the offseason ahead (emphasis mine):

While we failed to extend our six-straight winning seasons streak and secure our spot in the postseason, we made important changes that put us in a position to succeed as we build the next great Cubs team. Beginning to replenish our much-improved farm system was just the start. Jed and the team are now focused on reloading our roster. We have the resources necessary to compete in 2022 and beyond, and we will use them. We will be active in free agency and continue to make thoughtful decisions to bolster our team this offseason.

I didn’t bold any of the last sentence, mind you, because that’s already been the anthem from Jed Hoyer: we will be active in free agency, but we will spend intelligently.

As for what I did bold, it’s just a matter of holding it in your mind: the Cubs will aim to compete in 2022, ownership is saying the money is there to make that happen, and the money WILL be used. Again, you can’t go too far with that, because we know that “spending money” doesn’t mean “spending a shitload of money.” But with payroll commitments so tiny at the moment, the Cubs SHOULD be able to be extremely aggressive in free agency, even if they stay short-term-focused when it comes to free agent contracts.

In other words, the Cubs keep saying it, and we will keep holding them to it. At a minimum, there should be no limitations in aggressively targeting short-term, high-upside, high-AAV free agents. The Cubs have missed on that group – mostly sitting it out – for far too long.

Ricketts’ letter in full:

Building the Next Great Cubs Team

Dear Cubs Fans,

In our 12 years together, never have we experienced so many ups and downs in one season. After 18 long months, we enjoyed our much-anticipated Wrigley Field reunion and celebrated some early season success on the field. Following time at the top of our division, we also endured a double-digit losing streak and the difficult departure of players we all love. As mentioned in my August 2 letter, we made some tough decisions that created near-term competitive challenges in return for longer-term competitive advantages. Our mid-season moves also paved the way for the emergence of new impactful players in addition to the infusion of promising prospects. 2021 was an emotional roller coaster, to say the least.

In the midst of all the change this year, David Ross did an amazing job keeping our players focused and ready to play. From our accomplished veterans to our remarkable rookies, our players didn’t let up in the second half of the season. From August 12 on, we were second in OPS in the NL (.780) and fourth in the NL in runs per game (4.91). We also enjoyed some solid play from many of our new Cubs, including Patrick Wisdom, who set our single-season rookie mark with 28 home runs, and Frank Schwindel, who led all major leaguers in hits and was second in batting average from the trade deadline (July 30) through the end of the season.

While we failed to extend our six-straight winning seasons streak and secure our spot in the postseason, we made important changes that put us in a position to succeed as we build the next great Cubs team. Beginning to replenish our much-improved farm system was just the start. Jed and the team are now focused on reloading our roster. We have the resources necessary to compete in 2022 and beyond, and we will use them. We will be active in free agency and continue to make thoughtful decisions to bolster our team this offseason.

While highs and lows are a part of our game and nothing novel for unwavering Cubs fans, I know 2021 was a lot to process. Further, while making good long-term decisions with our roster looks good on paper, it doesn’t soften the pain of losing or the emptiness of missing the postseason. With our attention now solely on the 2022 season, please know this: we respect your high expectations, we share your desire to win and we commit to fielding a competitive team reflective of your unrivaled support. We’re more than excited to enjoy both the journey and our ultimate destination of winning another World Series championship with you again soon.

Finally, in a year marked by the ongoing pandemic and significant on-field change, your remarkable support was certainly a silver lining. As always, thank you again for being the best fans in baseball.

Sincerely,

Tom Ricketts

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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