Earlier in the week Joe reported on an interesting interview that Cubs owner Tom Ricketts had. In this interview Ricketts seemed to indicate a course change insofar as the direction of the team. Rather than continue the trend of higher and higher spending on team salaries, it appears that the Cubs will attempt to grow more of their own talent and augment their needs (less) in free agency.
I’m in favor of this new approach – recently we’ve seen the Cubs throw money at players and what to we have to show for it? The best ballplayers we got were good deals – Ted Lilly and Myron Byrd to name two. And look at the guys we shelled out big bucks for – Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Carlos Silva (translate Milton Bradley.) Have they contributed anything near what their salaries seemed to command? No way.
There comes a time when management has to wright the ship – the Cubs must get better bang for their buck when it comes to their development system. Every year the Twins field a competitive team and they don’t do it through free agency. Here in Nashville we have a hockey team that has made it to the playoffs every year since 2003 with one exception – they do it by watching their wallets and developing players. Why can’t the Cubs do that? They won’t have to trade eleven players to stay under the salary cap like the Blackhawks did, they just have to develop the talent. So I’m in favor of Tom Ricketts’ approach – if what you’re doing doesn’t work then try a different approach. So let’s give the new ownership a few years to straighten this team out.
In other news it appears that Eric Wedge is going to accept the Seattle Mariners’ job and Bobby Valentine is on the outs. Phil Rogers has speculated that the Cubs are holding out to see what Girardi will do, but Will Carroll predicted that Mike Quade would be named next week as the Cubs manager and that Ryne Sandberg will be promoted to bench coach (Sun-Times writer Gordon Wittenmeyer disputes this prediction.) It’s very likely that Sandberg is holding out for a managerial job, as well he should. But would it be in his best interests to take the Pittsburgh or Toronto job if offered in instead of an internal promotion inside the Cubs organization? Methinks not – managing the Pirates is as close to career suicide as one can get and I don’t like the Blue Jays’ chances in the same division as the the Yanks, Rays and Bosox. Ryno should heed the advice of Kenny Rogers (the singer, not the ballplayer:) You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. I like Ryno but it’s not his turn to manage the Cubs; hopefully he’ll play his cards right and sit next to Quade next year in Wrigley Field.
Update (Saturday 10/16:) It is being reported that Ryne Sandberg is being considered for the Toronto job.