Before we get to tonight’s game thread, we should talk a bit about the rumors circulating that the Chicago Cubs are going to pursue Sin-Soo Choo, David Price, or any number of other high-priced free agents in the 2013-2o14 off-season. According to one source, the Cubs don’t plan to spend much in the coming off-season, and don’t plan to increase the current payroll by much, if at all. Judging by the reaction on Twitter, this comes as a shock and a surprise to a lot of Cubs fans.
First, the Cubs top priority right now is renovating Wrigley. The panned renovations (videoboard, additional advertising, etc) will enable new revenue streams. Once those revenue streams kick in, the Ricketts will be prepared to increase payroll, but probably not before then. Getting that videoboard up quickly is huge, because that’s where the big bucks are going to come from.
Secondly, while many fans are counting on seeing players like Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Javier Baez in Wrigley in 2014, the odds are that the Cubs are going to keep those guys in the minors as long as they possibly can. Jed and Theo like their young guys to get a ton of at-bats down on the farm, and they’re going to come up later rather than sooner. That is, of course, assuming they don’t flame out. Not every highly-touted prospect makes it to the majors. At any rate, we’re not going to see the Cubs go after big time free agents until more of the kids are major league-ready.
Early in the 2012 season, one member of the Cubs organization told me that fans were looking ahead to 2013-2014 season, when they really needed to be looking at 2015 and 2016. It’s the worse kept secret in Chicago that Theo found the organization in much worse shape than he anticipated when he took over, just as the Ricketts found Wrigley Field in much worse shape than they expected when they bought the team. One is completely intertwined with the other. When Wrigley starts bringing in money rather than hemorrhaging it, we’ll see the Cubs up the payroll.
So while another year or two of stop-gap players and building up the farm system seems unbearable to most fans, that’s probably what we’re looking at. On the bright side, maybe they’ll bring David DeJesus back!
Assuming you’re watching the Cubs instead of the Bears tonight, you’ll see Edwin Jackson (7-13, 4.89 — I have ZERO memory of Edwin Jackson winning seven games this season) take the hill at PetCo Park against Edinson Volquez (9-10, 5.72).
First pitch is at 9:10 pm CT on CSN.
Bears are on FOX at 9:00 pm CT.