Ricketts Family Panel at CubsCon: Tom and Laura Talk Spending, Competitiveness, and the New Ryno Statue

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Ricketts Family Panel at CubsCon: Tom and Laura Talk Spending, Competitiveness, and the New Ryno Statue

Chicago Cubs

The Ricketts Family panel returned to the Cubs Convention for the first time in five years, and while it wasn’t necessarily a bounty of massive reveals, there were a handful of items worth sharing …

  • The big news item from the panel is that the next statue for Wrigley Field is under construction, and it’s Ryne Sandberg. He joined Laura and Tom Ricketts on stage for a celebration, and that was a cool moment.
  • Tom Ricketts said it was never the club’s intention to build up, crest as they did in 2015-17, and then fall way back. He cited a confluence of factors that led to the rebuild of the last couple years (my word, not his), but he is excited to be turning the page. He started to to hype the farm system and the guys gelling in the second half of ‘22, which made free agent success more possible. The messaging is definitely all about how the Cubs should be better this year, though there’s a heavy focus on the farm system.
  • Laura Ricketts talked about how spending money to placate fans in free agency may not actually wind up getting you where you want to be when the final accounting, so to speak, takes place on the field. It’s a message we’ve heard before. Tom added that the spending this year should be close to the first luxury tax tier (if so, there’s still a bit more to come, just sayin’), and they will go over it in the years ahead – but they have to be thoughtful about when they do that because of the financial and baseball-related consequences. Again, not a new message, and your mileage may vary on how meaningful the penalties are, and how often you should be willing to accept them.
  • Tom Ricketts said, no, any interest in a Premier League team is not going to have any impact on Cubs operations (financially). Nothing will be taken away from the Cubs to finance anything else. (Not sure how else you could answer that question, though. Imagine him saying, Yeah, actually, we’re gonna have to cut payroll a bit to buy a soccer team … .)
  • No update on The Sammy Question. Ricketts still seems to be waiting for Sosa to speak more openly about the PED period – that’s my read, anyway – and until then, there just isn’t anything to update. My sense has always been that there are folks in the organization (or folks who are important to the organization) who have resisted Sosa’s return, and Tom has been tasked with trying to figure out that balance. I just want it resolved so that he can be around at events like this.
  • On the new sportsbook at Wrigley Field, Tom Ricketts leaned on the idea that it’ll generate revenue, and revenue will ultimately help baseball operations. Not really making any apologies for that, which, hey, that’s the business. Let’s just see it in the payroll in the years ahead.

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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.