The Chicago Cubs finally unveiled official renovation plans, and owner Tom Ricketts released a video stating why the renovations are necessary. Never has it been more apparent that Ricketts is more worried about his pocketbook than the team’s win column total.
Obviously, this is the mentality of most, if not all professional sports owners, but when their financial obligations get in the way of baseball operations, that’s when there’s a problem. We might be headed in that direction if Ricketts doesn’t re-check his priorities.
First of all, the renovations on Wrigley Field are going to take four offseasons and $500 million from the Ricketts. In many ways, the renovations will make baseball playable in the Friendly Confines for decades to come and will make the team more money, but that had better translate into a better on-field product.
Since Ricketts has taken over the team, the Cubs have gone from a top-five team in terms of payroll to a bottom half team. A lot of this has to do with the fact that the team doesn’t want to spend money until they plan on competing, but that should be soon.
As this renovation project gets underway, will the Cubs be able to pay top dollar for prime free agents? At the latest, the Cubs need to make a splash in free agency in two offseasons. If these renovations and Ricketts’ other financial obligations restrict them from making those necessary moves, there is going to be a huge problem.
Sure, these renovations seem great for Wrigley Field for now, and they are. However, more important than the allure of Wrigley is the allure of a championship coming to the North Side of Chicago. For a team that’s cursed, the recently announced renovations could doom the franchise for even longer.
In a perfect world, Wrigley would become 10 times nicer, the team would bring in more money, and they’d spend that money on big-name free agents. Which of these two scenarios plays out will spell the fate of the franchise for years to come.