Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts made a seven-minute appearance Tuesday evening on Cubs Live!, the pre-game show on Marquee Sports Network, prior to the Cubs/Rockies game shown on the channel.
If you missed it or don’t have access to Marquee’s pre-game show, here’s the entire interview, conducted by Cole Wright [VIDEO].
While Wright did ask some very good questions, in my view there was one he left out. At one point, Ricketts spoke about “financial flexibility” for Jed Hoyer to spend his “financial resources” — that could have given Wright an opening. And when specifically asked about when the Cubs would be a World Series contender, Ricketts said, “In order to win the World Series, you’ve got to win your division, and we look at next year as a year in which we can be competitive and get back into the mix in our division.”
There is, of course, no way that the Cubs chairman is going to talk, on live television, about specific player payroll levels. No team executive would do that. But I would have asked him this specific question: “Will you give Jed Hoyer sufficient budget to be that contending team in 2022?”
Now, Ricketts might have given a vague answer, but that’s really a yes-or-no question and it’s one that’s on my mind, and perhaps yours. Earlier in the interview Ricketts reiterated that Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Báez are welcome to return, but whether that happens or not, there’s no question that the Cubs are going to have to spend money to compete in 2022, as I laid out here yesterday.
Lastly, in regard to those players possibly coming back or not, there’s been some statements made on sports talk radio by them and Jed Hoyer over the last couple of days that imply bad blood exists. I do not believe that’s true, and even if there are misunderstandings among those four, they have all known each other for a very long time. If Hoyer and Ricketts want to bring them back, they can certainly sit down and have an honest discussion after this season ends. Here’s one thought about who of those three might, and might not, return to the Cubs:
Note to everyone discussing whether Baez, Bryant and Baez will be Cubs next season.— Cubs No-Hit Streak (@CubsNoHitStreak) August 4, 2021
It’s re-sign. Not resign.
And for what it’s worth, Rizzo will re-sign with the Cubs. Baez and Bryant won’t.
Well, who knows. I guess we’ll find out soon enough, and if they don’t return, they and the Cubs will move on. Again, though, as I noted in yesterday’s article, I believe the Cubs franchise cannot afford to “tank” for three or four years. In order to compete and contend in 2022, money will have to be spent. I would have liked to hear such a commitment from Tom Ricketts. I hope he’ll make that commitment for the team’s 2022 player payroll budget.
FWIW, here are the very small-sample-size numbers for Rizzo, Báez and Bryant since they left the Cubs:
Rizzo: .438/.545/.813 (7-for-16), two home runs
Báez: .133/.188/.333 (2-for-15), one home run
Bryant: .167/.231/.417 (2-for-12), one home run
As always, we await developments, including whether there will be a 2022 season at all, given the uncertainty surrounding a new MLB/MLBPA collective-bargaining agreement.
Will the Cubs be able to compete within the NL Central, as Tom Ricketts stated, in 2022?
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