View From The Bleachers

November 19, 2010

GO: Ricketts

Filed under: Featured,General — Lizzie @ 5:00 am

Has the purchase of the team by the Ricketts family made the Cubs organization (overall) better, worse, or no change?

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Elizabeth Pearson stumbled upon VFTB around 2006, and enjoys encouraging conversation among the wide variety of readers brought together by their love of the Cubs. She’s married, has a Cub-loving pug named Phinneaus, and enjoys biking, hiking, cooking and gardening. She calls Chesterton, Indiana home and hopes to one day retire on Mackinac Island. Connect with Lizzie via email or Instagram.

  • Buddy

    I think it’s too early to say. We need more information.

  • Chuck

    Incomplete. Some people are concerned that the statements about keeping the payroll the same, or slightly lower, for next year is a bad sign. I am not because every team has a budget and as long as we are in the top 10 it gives us a chance to be competitive if the correct personnel decisions are made. I hope that this means that more money is going to be spent developing the farm system. However, if the Cubs turn into the Royals, not so good…

  • Rick Beato

    I am convinced these people are loving the limelight, enjoying shaking hands and having little brother on Undercover Boss, smiling and enjoying the positive vibes that came from the end of the TRIBUNE era. I am also convinced that these billionaires have no clue on how to improve the product on the field. They retain Jim Hendry, who has shown no ability to put together a team that can win even a single game in the postseason. They raise ticket prices by 12% while saying they are not raising prices as they push the entertainment tax (that had been folded into the price) out as an add-on. And they put us through a season of hell that will not be appreciably better in 2011.
    How can it? The only bright spots this year were the three Cs: Castro, Cashner, Colvin. A team with an understanding of the farm system can afford to cut the budget and rely on the young players coming up. The Cubs have no clue what they have and resist developing them. They had no idea that Colvin could play — go back to March and read the reports on spring trianing. They had no idea that Cashner could pitch in 2010 — they still have no idea if he should start or relieve (sounds a lot like Samadrzija, doesn’t it?). Worst, they had no idea that Castro was so close to being ready.
    Remember when Ryan Braun came up to the Brewers in May? We had heard of him and the Brewers knew he could play. They prepared for him and brought him up on schedule. The Cubs did not prep for Castro, playing Theriot at SS only and not working him at 2B. Their awful April caused desperation and they brought him up, moving Theriot then and becoing surprised that the young man could play. He does need work at SS, of course, so bringing Sandberg to Chicago as bench coach might have helped the young man, but Hendry did not want Ryno in Chicago. That is obvious. So he will help the Phillies continue to win while the Cubs will continue to sell the smiling owners and some nedbulous ‘next year’ that never seems to come.
    Ricketts does not remind me of the TRIBUNE. He is starting to remind me of Wrigley. Remember, Phil Wrigley was the worst owner in baseball for decades.

  • Rick Beato

    Thanks for the opportunity to vent. It does warm up a fall day!

  • Joe


    Didn’t Jim Hendry put together the team that was 5 outs away from a world series? What other GM in recent history of this franchise has done that? Didn’t he also get the team to back to back postseason appearances? What GM in recent history of this team has done that

    Every GM is going to make mistakes. Hendry is not an exception to that, but he’s done more than those who have gone before him.

    I’m being patient with the Ricketts family. I really don’t think you can accurately judge what kind of ownership group they are for 5 to 10 years. We have to to history.

  • mrbaseball2usa

    Probably too early to tell, but the extreme marketing (re. Mac & Cheese) has already left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended)…

  • Chet

    Too early yet, but I will start forming an opinion after the 2011 season.

    I feel this is still the honeymoon period. Married life starts after this season.

    So far the only concern they seem to have is the improvement of the ballpark. The team is sort of floating in limbo at the moment and really there is not much they can do because of the bad contracts on the books.

    Having a large payroll is such a small part of winning these days. You need to have an ASTRONOMICAL payroll to really see the difference.

    Think about it, A $105 million dollar payroll (not a lot but not small) can be just as effective as $150 million. It just depends on where the money is going.

  • MJ

    Amen Joe. Hendry, IMO, has shot 50/50 in his tenure here.

  • Doc Raker

    It is to early to tell. This years performance can not be blamed on the Ricketts ownership.
    If ownership supports Quade in playing the best baseball players he has regardless of contract size then I will like them. That is the biggest thing in my view of what will change the Cubs into winners in the immediate future, sitting down non performers even when the contract says they should be starting. That mindset has to come from the top.

  • Nuke LaLoosh

    @Rick Beato

    Your “bright spots” of 2010 included only the “3 C’s” — all players with pretty bright futures, certainly good enough to be everyday big-leaguers — but that list misses the three of the best young-and-entering-their-prime players the Cubs ran out there this year:

    1)Geovany Soto (still just 27)
    .890 OPS; 131 OPS+ — FROM A CATCHER!

    2) Carlos Marmol (28 years old)
    171 ERA+; 16.0 K/9 IP

    3) Sean Marshall (28 years old)
    165 ERA+; 10.8 K/9 IP; 3.60 K/BB

    Not picking nits. I’m just saying that we’ve got some talent in that pack.

  • bob

    I think it’s too early to tell. As far as the baseball side of it goes, I think it’s a no brainer to sit back on this free agent class this year. The present team did not respond to Lou Pinella last year. So I believe this year will have a bit of a “wait and see” look to it. Wait and see how Quade does with this team, The talent is not horrific, it just didn’t perform at all. Will it perform for him. I doubt to a playoff level, but more important how do individuals look. I think Quade is also a stop gap for when this team gets some freedom in the payroll area.

    I think ownership wants to evaluate the talent that is presently there and make minor moves in the FA pool, while pursuing trades that make sense. I remember Ricketts saying he didn’t want to decimate the farm system, which is wise. Also, next year a ton of money comes off the books and the team could go nuts in Free Agency then as well.

    If I were owner/GM that is exactly what I would do, play it safe this year, go after a second tier 1b, a mid rotation starter and one average bullpen guy. I wouldn’t add a ton of pieces. Then I would see how this team responds to Quade. If it’s in the hunt (I can’t believe I’m even saying that, except for the example of the Padres this past year), then maybe make some moves. If not, at least I’ve evaluated the young talent, like Castro, Colvin, Lee (maybe) and know what we need to pursue when Fuk, Aram, Silva, and others come off the books.

    Okay sorry that was long-winded.

    Just my two cents.

  • jswanson


    I’d like to see what Quade could do with Teddy, D-Lee, Riot, and even Milton. We certainly have less refined talent right now, but maybe that is not a bad thing. I just hope the Ricketts clan has a plan…aside from keeping a tight balance sheet.

  • Rick Beato

    Well, I obviously have the minority opinion. My son-in-law is with the rest of you, hoping. I did that from 1956 until 2008. Losing the 6th, 7th & 8th playoff games in a row back to 2003 really must have done me in. I give Hendry little credit for building the team that made the playoffs two straight years only because they could not win a single game postseason. Not one. I no longer have any confidence in Hendry.
    Please do not overrate Colvin and Cashner. Two decent guys, not all-stars. Castro has the talent to be the real star we need but I have no confidence that anyone there can halp him become a great infielder. We had Trammel, who was a great SS. We have DeJesus, we was a decent SS. I hope someone will help him but I have no confidence in that.
    Would I be happy if I turned out wrong? Sure. Do I think that will happen? No. I will cross my fingers, though!

  • Buddy

    No offense, but I wouldn’t wish Theriot and Bradley on my worst enemy.

  • Rich Beckman

    Too soon to say. They do seem to be having a ball owning a ball club, but I can hardly blame them for that.

    I don’t have much problem with Hendry. I blame the playoff losses on Pinella.

  • Larry Sproul

    It may be a bit to early to tie the noose on the Ricketts. That said they need to improve in 2011 . At least we wont have Lou dozing in the dugout anymore . Change is good and the Ricketts family needs to pay attention to the ball club and not the noodle .
    The honeymoon is over and the fans want results on the field . 2007/2008 were great years but what happened in the post season ?? Hendry needs to know that deals like Milton Bradley are no more .

    Only time will tell the fan base wants a change !!

  • mastrick

    The only thing I have a problem with is when the Cubs asked the state for money to refurbish Wrigley. In this time of economic sluggishness state resources could be much better spent on other endeavors. That plus the fact that the Cubs make a lot of money – rich people don’t need any help from the taxpayers.

  • mastrick

    In other news the Cubs have given Larry Rothschild permission to exit his contract and become pitching coach for the NY Yankees. GO!!

  • walterj

    i don’t blame hendry for much until this offseason . i think a lot of his bad moves were pushed by the tribune to spend and make a winner now . i pretty much have given him the benefit of the doubt , but i don’t agree with how the sandberg situation was handled and i don’t like how rothschild was allowed to just walk away after he just picked up his option and the cubs recieved zero compensation for it . the yankees wouldn’t have allowed the cubs to do the same with any of their managers or coaches .
    as for the rickets , the jury is still out, but so far they give off the same bad smell as working for a cooperation i worked with for many years that is mainly worried about their perception as a company and how many dollars they can make . if they are committed to winning as their main priority , then we won’t have the answers until next winter i’m afraid .

  • Doc Raker

    @Mastrick- I agree- it is a pet peeve of mine that ultra wealthy owners ask for tax payer dollars in order to run a business inwhich they pay employees millions of dollars. The Cubs have a payroll of $100M for 25 people yet they need tax payers to help build them a place to run their business. Jeez, I wish I could get away with that.

  • cap’n obvious

    The thing that scares me about the Ricketts’ is that they are lifelong Cub fans, so losing is in their blood. A guy like Mark Cuban hates to lose, thats why I was hoping for someone like him to take over. We’ll have to wait and see.

  • Doc Raker

    With your logic Capn we are all losers for being Cub fans and I don’t believe that to be true…………for most of us.

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