Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts sent an email to Cubs fans Friday and I reproduce it here in its entirety, so you can read it if you weren’t on the recipient list. I’ll follow with some comments.
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.
The key here, of course, is this passage:
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.
You’re going to parse the word “thoughtful” to mean “we are going to spend, but not a lot.” Right? Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer spoke of “intelligent” spending and many of you had the same thought about that term.
In August, I laid out four reasons why the Cubs have to spend to compete and (hopefully) put a contending team on the field. I’ll stand by that. In this article last week, I noted that Cubs long-term contract commitments plus arbitration salaries plus salaries for pre-arb guys will likely total about $65 million for 2022. That should give the Cubs, in my view, somewhere around $90-$100 million to spend. You might disagree. We’ll see what happens.
Another email Friday was sent to season ticket holders. In it, the Cubs stated:
Following our annual review and thoughtful analysis, pricing will slightly decrease across all sections of the ballpark.
In a section on season tickets in my August article, I stated:
Lastly on this point — the Cubs are almost going to have to give at least some sort of token price cut on season tickets.
So we’ll see. Soon, in fact — Friday’s email stated that renewal invoices would be sent next week, and when they are, I’ll post information here. The Cubs are asking for 20 percent of invoices to be paid by November 18 and the balance by January 19. This is in line with the way the Cubs asked for payment prior to 2020 and... well, it’s going to be problematic if the MLB/MLBPA collective-bargaining agreement isn’t signed by November 18, because if it’s not, no team is going to sign any free agents, not knowing how free agency, arbitration, rosters, etc. are going to be handled. If that happens and the Cubs thus make no signings by the time the 20 percent is due, some STH might opt out. As always, we await developments.
Lastly, the Cubs announced these dates for season ticket holders for 2022:
Saturday, September 24, and Sunday, September 25, 2022 – The 2022 Season Ticket Holder Family Day will take place at Wrigley Field (date subject to change). Detailed information on the event will be shared with you next summer.
This year’s Family Day event was held on Monday and Tuesday, September 27 and 28 and some STH weren’t happy that the event was held on weekdays when kids were in school. A weekend event is much better.
When season ticket pricing is announced next week I’ll post information here.