Chicago Cubs GM Theo Epstein’s “Transparency” An Empty Gesture?
The 2012 season for the Chicago Cubs was a 101-loss disaster. It was year one of the Theo Epstein era, and it was was also the third-worst in a long and painful franchise history.
The hiring of Epstein implied change. However, that change seemed to apply to everything but ticket prices, which remained the third-highest in the league last season.
The Cubs organization, with Epstein as President of Baseball operations, have taken an old school approach to team-building. Towards the end of the 2012 season, Epstein expressed his desire to be “honest”, and added that there is the possibility that they may be doing things like trading away 40 percent of their pitching rotation.
Based on what has been stated to the media, the team plans to focus on the draft and build home-grown talent. This doesn’t happen over night. This doesn’t happen in two or three seasons.
Even the big spenders in the other wealthy markets don’t fix Cub-like team issues in that amount of time. The Cubs’ No. 1 starter (until the return of Matt Garza from the DL), Jeff Samardzija, has never pitched 200 innings. Beyond that, they will be putting Starling Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Afonso Soriano on the field as the value you will get for those pricey tickets at an average of $50 a pop at Wrigley Field.
Usually when a baseball fan has to pay for high-priced tickets, he or she can expect active spending in free agency to go along with it. That is not what is happening here, as it seems the Cubs want to dump salaries.
So my question is this: if the organization is going to ask it’s fans to wait four or five years watching Single-A prospects turn into every day MLB starters, why is the franchise also asking those same fans to spend like the team is a perennial contender ?
Epstein has experienced success as GM of the Boston Red Sox. He does use an updated system (sabermetrics) to evaluate talent accurately. However, he is asking a lot from the loyal fans of the Cubs franchise. Honesty and transparency is more appreciated if it reveals good news.
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