Tag Archive | "Tom Ricketts"

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Latest on Theo – Red Sox Wanted Matt Garza?! Wrigley Field 10/17/11

Posted on 17 October 2011 by Lou

The Cubs and Red Sox are still trying to work out the compensation that will allow the Cubs to hire Theo Epstein as their new General Manager.  While things have been mostly quiet on the front, it did come out over the weekend that the Red Sox initially requested Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza in the deal.  Good luck with that one John Henry.  What a joke.  I hope Tom Ricketts laughed in their faces when they threw Garza’s name out there, just as he should do if the Red Sox throw out the Cubs top prospect – Brett Jackson – as the player who needs to move if the Cubs want to complete the deal.

This is turning into a complete charade, as it appears that Red Sox management is being completely unreasonable.  If you knew you would only let Theo go if the other team gave you a top major league player or a top prospect, then you should have made that clear when you granted the other team position to talk to your GM.  If you really wanted your GM there long-term (or at least for the final year of his contract), then you should not have even granted another team the right to speak to Theo.

Red Sox management is making this way more difficult than it needs to be and I hope Ricketts holds his ground before succumbing to the Red Sox egregious demands.  At this point, the last thing that the Red Sox want to do is bring Theo back, so they are in just as a tough position as the Cubs are.  After all the things John Henry has said the last 2 weeks, can you really see Theo serving out his final year as Red Sox GM?  No way.  If that happened, the Red Sox would probably have to pay Theo the value of his final year PLUS the $3.5 million conclusion bonus just to sit on the sideline.  I can’t see them trusting Theo enough to play a major role in selecting the Red Sox next manager and then making major player decisions which will affect the Red Sox organization for the next several years.

It’s clear that both Red Sox management and the Ricketts family will have to “bend” a little in order to get this deal done.  Ricketts wants Theo to turn his bad club around and the Red Sox want Theo out of their skin so they can go onto the next phase with a new GM and a new manager.  Now they just need to take a step back, realize what is at stake and come up with a minor league prospect who can make both sides save face.  I know that’s tough to swallow for millionaires with insane egos who are used to getting what they want.  But if they look at the alternatives at this point of the negotiations, I think they’ll be able to see which is the better way to proceed.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as anything goes”official” before the start of the World Series on Wednesday…

 

 

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What’s the Hold Up – Cubs/Epstein/Red Sox On Hold?!?! – Wrigley Field 10/14/11

Posted on 14 October 2011 by Lou

Uh-oh.  Could the Theo Epstein to Cubs “Trade” fall through as Cubs and Red Sox brass duke it out over the 37-year old GM?  What a disaster?!

Supposedly, the Cubs and Red Sox are still working out the “compensation” for bringing Theo Epstein to Chicago to take over baseball operations for the Cubs.  It’s not clear whether the “compensation” will be cash only or a combination of cash and players, but we do know that Tom Ricketts has provided a list of prospects to his senior scouting team to determine which players, if any, they would be willing to part with.  Another glitch has been whether or not the Red Sox will refuse Theo to bring any Red Sox “staffers” with him to Chicago.  When Jed Hoyer left the Red Sox in 2009 to take over the San Diego Padres GM job, Red Sox management allowed Hoyer to take 2 senior staffers with him.  But rumors have it that the Red Sox management is really being stubborn about allowing a similar precedent with Theo.  Could that block a deal.  Maybe if the Cubs part with the right prospect or 2, then maybe the Red Sox will relent on their personnel stance and allow Theo to take one or top executives with him.  But right now it is all still up in the air.

Another issue is the fact that once the World Series starts on Wednesday, October 19th, MLB prohibits teams from making announcements regarding their organizations.  That means if the Cubs/Red Sox can’t agree on a deal by Tuesday, they would have to wait until after the World Series ends to make an official public announcement about the Epstein “trade”.  Neither team wants that.  The Red Sox need to hire a new GM and Manager.  The Cubs need to announce the hiring of their “savior” in order to appease their fan base when they send out 2012 season ticket invoices to their “loyal fan base” who have had to endure 2 of the worst seasons in Cubs history in 2010 and 2011 – and that’s saying a LOT for a team that hasn’t won a World Series title in over 100 years.

All these things being said, I can’t see Theo going back to Boston to fulfill his obligations under the last year of his contract at this point.  He clearly has some issues with the team’s style right now and was clearly enamored by a chance to be in complete control over the baseball operations of a major league team.  The Red Sox were clearly willing to let him go.  The Red Sox could have prevented Theo from even talking with the Cubs, but they didn’t.  Statements released by Red Sox Owner John Henry sure seem to indicate that Theo will be the Cubs President/GM very soon – “I would love to have Theo back.. That was my hope.  That would have been my hope. But you don’t always get what you want. I did everything I could personally, and so did Tom and Larry, to make that happen. The fact is that being general manager in Boston, being manager in Boston, is a terrifically tough job.”  So it seems like the Red Sox have come to grips that Theo is on his way out, and now it’s time for Cubs management and Red Sox management to put their egos aside and agree to some “reasonable” compensation to finalize this deal ASAP. That is the right thing to do for both teams to bring some closure to a deal that could end up being good for both sides – how about a Cubs-Red Sox World Series in 2013 or 2014?

This should be interesting and we’ll keep you posted as soon as anything official is announced.

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Ricketts, Cubs Lure Theo Away From Red Sox, Beantown – “Year One” Begins For 3rd Straight Year Under Ricketts Regime – Wrigley Field 10/12/11

Posted on 12 October 2011 by Lou

It’s time to usher in “Year One” for the 3rd straight year under the Ricketts Regime as the Cubs lure GM Theo Epstein away from the Boston Red Sox.  While it still isn’t official, all sources indicate that a deal will be announced any second now.  “Year One” in 2010 was the 1st full season where the Ricketts Family actually owned the Cubs.  “Year One” in 2011 was the first full season with new Manager Mike Quade at the helm.  And “Year One” in 2012 will be the 1st full year in which Theo Epstein will be the Cubs GM. Ah — gotta love to be able to spin things anyway you want to…

Theo will be the Cubs new General Manager and at the end of the day, will likely also serve as the Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations (hopefully that title signals the end of Crane Kenney’s role as “president” as he quietly glided around the “friendly confines” of Wrigley Field taking money from the organization and doing absolutely nothing positive in the role; but I digress).  Tom Ricketts identified Theo Epstein as the man that he wanted to get and it looks like he is going to turn over the keys to the car to the 37-year old Boston native.

There are certainly a lot of details to be ironed out.  Here’s what we know:

Deal Terms — 5 Years, $15 million.  The Cubs will also pay Theo $3.5 million to cover the conclusion bonus that Theo would have earned if he served out his term as Red Sox GM through the 2012 MLB season.

The Cubs and Red Sox are also negotiating compensation to be paid to the Red Sox for allowing the Cubs to pluck Theo from the Red Sox organization since he still had 1-year left on his deal.  While the Red Sox have allegedly asked for a high level prospect, it appears that MLB and the Cubs have issues with that request.  In the end, the Cubs will probably have to pay some cash to the Red Sox to get the deal done.

The Red Sox are also likely to impose a restriction on whom Theo can “recruit” from the Red Sox organization to bring to the Cubs.  Theo may have to obtain the Red Sox consent before he can hire someone else away.

And while the deal still could potentially fall through IF the two sides can’t agree on compensation or some of these ancillary issues, I can’t imagine Theo going back to Boston now.  And since the Red Sox brass – John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino – did not prevent Theo from speaking with the Cubs as was within their right – it’s pretty clear that they were primed and ready to part ways with the young GM despite the success that he brought to the organization.

Here’s a quick capsule of Theo’s time in Boston — Theo took over the Red Sox after the conclusion of the 2002 MLB season as an up-and-coming 28-year old GM.  In his 1st year behind the helms, the Red Sox took the Yankees to the brink of elimination in Game 7 of the ALCS before blowing an 8th inning lead which allowed the Yankees to keep the Red Sox out of the World Series and prolong their 86-year championship drought.  The next year, however, Epstein and the Red Sox made baseball history by coming back from a 3-0 hole against the Yankees in the ALCS and advancing to the World Series for the 1st time since 1986.  A 4-0 sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals brought that elusive title to Beantown.  The Red Sox won another World Series under Theo in 2007 and the team advanced to the post-season in  6 of his 9 seasons in Boston.  He is a proven winner and now takes on the challenge to break the Cubs 100+ year championship drought.  If he does that, we will go down as one of the greatest GM’s of all time in any professional sport.

Good work Tom – after bumbling around for 2 years, you really seem to have your act together now.  My biggest wish was for you to actually fire Jim Hendry even though he still has 1 year left on his deal.  When you announced that in August, I started to have some faith again.  Now you’re truly showing that you want to win and that you’re going to do whatever it takes to bring a championship to the north side.  While there are never any guarantees, at least you are putting yourself in a position to succeed with this hire.  Congrats!

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Speculation Starts Now – What Will 2012 Cubs Look Like? – Wrigley Field 10/1/11

Posted on 01 October 2011 by Lou

The speculation starts now as Cubs fans eagerly await Owner Tom Ricketts’ next moves for the Cubs organization.  First up will be the hiring of a new General Manager.  Then who knows what else?  Surprisingly, overpaid outfielder Alfonso Soriano summed it up best when he cleared out his locker room last week – “Two things can happen.  It can change, or stay the way it is now.  I don’t know what they want to do.  We don’t have control of that.  We can only play the game and do our job.  The owners have the control.  We’d like to stay together, but who knows?” Amen to that.

Changes will have to be made obviously, but given the financial situation with a few long-term deals still hampering the ability of any GM to make necessary trades/free agent signings, only so much can be done.  With the firing of Red Sox Manager Terry Francona in Boston, there are some rumors floating around that long-time GM Theo Epstein could also be looking for a change of scenery.  The Cubs would need to obtain permission from the Red Sox in order to speak with Epstein and they would be foolish not to ask.  What’s the worst that Red Sox barss can say, no?  Let’s hope Ricketts & Co. have the common sense to explore ALL options, even Epstein.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on the GM front and the rest of the roster.  Aramis Ramirez has a $16 million option for the 2012 season, but has already indicated that he will explore the free agent market to see if he can nab one final lucrative long-term deal.  Ryan Dempster and the Cubs also have a mutual option that can be exercised for the 2012 MLB season, so we’ll have to see what happens there.  Fun, fun, fun…

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Cubs Finish 71-91 – Lot of Work To Do in Off-Season – Wrigley Field 9/30/11

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Lou

The Cubs have a LOT of work to do this off-season.  They finished a whopping 25 games behind the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.  A 71-91 record just doesn’t cut it.  Especially after finishing the 2010 MLB season with a 75-87 record – 16 games back of the 1st place Cincinnati Reds.

The lone positive – the NL Central is a very winnable division – each of the last 4 years has brought a new division winner.  So who knows – if a few things go their way in 2012, maybe the Cubs can make it a 5th straight different division winner.

The Cubs first need to hire a new GM to replace Jim Hendry.  Then the new GM with his staff will have to figure out a way to plug up a TON of holes without a lot of money with which to work.  Owner Tom Ricketts has already said that the payroll will not increase much from what it was in 2011.  Sure there is a lot of money coming off the books this off-season – no Kosuke Fukudome; no Milton Bradley/Carlos Silva salary; no full Carlos Zambrano salary (assuming they can shovel him off to another team); and maybe no Carlos Pena or Aramis Ramirez salary.  Will Ricketts be able to stomach making a run at the Scott Boras-led Prince Fielder?  How will the Cubs plug the gaping holes in their starting rotation?  Who will play right field on a regular basis? Will Manager Mike Quade keep his job under the new GM?

There are no easy answers, so it will be an interesting off-season to watch and we’ll keep you posted every step of the way here at MyCubsToday.com.

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Cubs Convention Right Around the Corner — Wrigley Field 1/8/11

Posted on 08 January 2011 by Lou

The annual Cubs Convention is right around the corner – next weekend January 14-16 at the Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue.  Festivities starts at 5PM on Friday January 14th.  The Cubs anticipate that over 50 current and former Cubs players, coaches and prospects will be present at the 3-day weekend event.

Some of the highlights include:

The Ricketts Family Forum will kick off the activities on Saturday, January 15th.  The Ricketts will be there to talk about the current team and they will be available to talk about the club’s plans for the future.

General Manager Jim Hendry, Special Assistant Greg Maddux, Assistant GM Randy Bush and Manager Mike Quade will be available for comments and questions in a session called “Meet Cubs Baseball Management”.

Quade will return for another session called the “Q Factor”.  Quade and his staff — Mark Riggins, Rudy Jaramillo, Lester Strode, Ivan DeJesus, Bob Dernier and Dave Keller — will discuss how they plan to tackle the 2011 MLB schedule.

And in the “Dominican Way of Life” session, Aramis Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Carlos Pena and Oneri Fleita (the Cubs player development director) will discuss their transition from life in the Dominican Republic to life in the United States.  Fleita will also offer some insight into how the Cubs scout and develop international players for the major leagues.

All in all it should be another great Cubs convention weekend.  Plus, with all proceeds from the convention benefiting Chicago Cubs Charities, what more can you ask for…

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Ice Rink Back @ Wrigley Field — Gimme a Break!?!? Wrigley Field 11/30/10

Posted on 30 November 2010 by Lou

Driving by Wrigley Field this morning, I saw the ice rink construction already underway.  What went through my mind – disgust, frustration, anger?  Pretty much all of the above.  We continue to hear how the Ricketts Family needs the city and state to help fund the renovation of Wrigley Field to keep baseball on the north side.  We also see the Ricketts family raking in thousands of dollars with the Northwestern-Illinois Allstate Wrigleyville Classic 2 weeks ago.  Now we’re seeing another money-maker grace the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field with the ice skating rink going up.  At the same time, we continue to hear how the Cubs need to slash payroll and keep the total salary more in the $130-135 million range instead of the $140-145 million range.  Gimme a freaking break.  This is turning into the Chicago Tribune all over again in just one year of ownership by the Ricketts Family.  Now I know that GM Jim Hendry has screwed the Ricketts with several bad contracts (Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Milton Bradley-Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome), but at this point, what’s another $10 million?  That extra $10 million could be used to land the likes of an Adam Dunn instead who would man 1st base for the next 3 years and slug around 40 home runs out onto Sheffield or Waveland each season.  Instead we’re going to end up with a Xavier Nady-Tyler Colvin-??? platoon.  This is a complete joke.

The Ricketts Family better right this ship soon, or we’re going to see even more people trying to hawk their tickets on the streets of Clark and Addison for pennies on the dollar in 2011 and beyond.  I wonder how many “Holiday Pax” the Cubs actually sold in the last 2 weeks.  My guess is that I can count the number on one hand…

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Allstate College Football Classic @ Wrigley Field – Annual Event?

Posted on 18 November 2010 by Lou

Northwestern will play Illinois in the 1st Annual Allstate College Football Classic at Wrigley Field on Saturday November 20th.  Will this become an annual event as a home game for Evanston’s Northwestern Wildcats at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field?  If Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has anything to say about it, Northwestern or some local college football team will be playing at Wrigley Field every fall.  Ricketts hopes that Northwestern and Illinois will agree to renew the game for the 2011 season as soon as possible.

Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald has expressed some reservations, including the fact that the team had to give up a “home game” at Ryan Field in order to play at Wrigley Field.  Sure Northwestern was allocated a significant majority of the 42,000+ tickets sold for the game (somewhere in the 30,000 number), when you’re playing another area team like Illinois, Fitzgerald expects there to be plenty of Illini alumni screaming like crazy at the Friendly Confines on Saturday.  Fitzgerald had this to say about the game – “Why don’t you ask me that on Saturday or Sunday.  I don’t know, it’s been a lot of fun to this point.  I’m just appreciative of our administration handling all the logistics.  We’re just going to show up and play… For the unqieness and opportunity our guys get, the answer is yes… But I want to play at home.  This is our home field, play in front of our students and fans here.”

It should be a lot of fun.  Let’s hope the Cubs and Northwestern can figure out a positive way to make this happen every year.  College football at Wrigley – what a glorious thing…

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Ryne Sandberg Not Pleased with Cubs Managerial Interview Process – Wrigley Field 11/16/10

Posted on 16 November 2010 by Lou

Ryne Sandberg was recently named the Manager of the Phillies Triple-A affiliate in Lehigh Valley of the International League.  When asked about the Cubs managerial interview process, he seemed to indicate that he didn’t thnk that the Cubs took his candidacy that seriously.  Here are a few of his quotes:

“Well, you know what, obviously there was disappointment at the end.  As I look back and see everybody involved in the interview process, I think the most games anybody saw me manage was 4-5 games, by everybody that I talked to.  Based on that, I don’t know how I would hired for a job if nobody saw me doing my job elsewhere.  That was kind of a disappointing part of the whole thing.  But now that I see it, it’s very obvious with the process and the final choice… I did what I had to do.  I had a good season.  I progressed through the farm system.  I’m not saying I totally paid my dues, I don’t want to go there, because I don’t know what paying the dues is, how many years that means.  Becasue there are guys who do it a lot more.  Deep down I felt I did what I had to do, and had fun at it, and was good at it.  I had some confidence right down to the end, but looking back at it, I see things a little differently… I just enjoyed my interview with the Phillies… They talked about organization.  They talked about team.  And they used the word ‘we’ a lot.  They also said I would be working hand in hand with the big club, whatever is needed.  There will be phone calls quite often, maybe even every other day from the major-league club.  That connection, and that confidence in me in helping them and be a part of it is something I’m excited about.”

WOW – Sandberg seems pretty bitter right now, but I think he is in a much better situation than if he WAS hired as the Cubs major league manager.  With the Ricketts continuing to slash payroll, things are going to be pretty ugly for a little while on the North Side…

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Ryne Sandberg Hired as Phillies Triple-A Manager at Lehigh Valley – Wrigley Field 11/15/10

Posted on 15 November 2010 by Lou

It’s official – Ryne Sandberg is the new Triple-A Manager of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs of the International League.  The Cubs passed over Sandberg for the Cubs major league managerial job and decided to hire Mike Quade to take over the job on a full-time basis after he guided the Cubs to an impressive 24-13 record during the final 37 games of the season.  Sandberg did everything the Cubs asked him to do by managing for the last 4 seasons in the Cubs minor league system, but when the Cubs went with Quade instead of him a month ago, that was the final straw.  Sandberg returns to the organization that drafted him back in 1982.

I’m glad that Ryno found a place to land after the Cubs debacle.  It was definitely the right move for Sandberg and the Cubs once the Cubs opted to go with Quade.  To have Sandberg still in the Cubs organization would have been more trouble than it was worth.  Guess we’ll see how it all plays out over the next few years, but it would not surprise me to hear Sandberg’s name in the mix the next time the Cubs are looking for a major league manager (which could be as early as years) depending on how bad things get with the Ricketts slashing payroll and the Cubs trying to rebuild…

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