Analyzing Tom Ricketts letter sent to Cubs fans


by - Staff Writer -
Ricketts has promised to be active in free agency this offseason
Ricketts has promised to be active in free agency this offseason

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts sent a letter to Cubs fans following the disappointing end to the 2021 season, breaking the franchise's streak of six straight winning seasons.

After any losing season, the first immediate question should always be how can the team get better. Over the last couple of offseasons, the Cubs have had one of the league’s highest payrolls and as a result, were a bit limited financially in the offseason. When Cubs fans wanted the team to be signing players like Bryce Harper, ownership and other factors instead put the Cubs in the market for Daniel Descalso.

It could be Ricketts deciding not to trust the front office with a budget increase after making massive deals like the one to Jason Hayward that did not quite work out, or it could be the Ricketts’ spending too much to fix and manicure the neighborhood and stadium instead of the players that play on, or of course, the team could really be facing those ‘biblical losses’ that Ricketts promised due to COVID-19 — or it could be a mixture of them all. But the Cubs were forced to cut payroll over the last offseason.

We saw the Cubs trade Cy Young runner up Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to the Padres for four young prospects and soon-to-be free agent Zach Davies. The Cubs made multiple one-year deals for players like Matt Duffy, Jake Arrieta, Joc Pederson, and others as well as not extending the slue of impending free agents the Cubs had in Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez. But we all know what happened, the Cubs traded the likes of Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera, Craig Kimbrel, Joc Pederson, Jake Marisnick, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Trevor Williams at the deadline.

As a result, the Cubs estimated payroll for the 2022 season sits well below $100 million dollars. In fact, the Cubs could triple their projected payroll for 2022 and still set well below the Luxury Tax threshold that they flirted with and violated in years past.

So, in Ricketts letter, he made that very clear. “We have the resources necessary to compete in 2022 and beyond, and we will use them. We will be active in free agency and continue to make thoughtful decisions to bolster our team this offseason,” he said via email to the Cubs community on Friday.

When analyzing those words, initially they sound promising to Cubs fans.

However, they could just be exactly what Cubs fans want to hear. But at the end of the day, the Cubs do have a massive amount of payroll flexibility, an attractive ballpark and fan base, and multiple needs on the baseball team that desperately need to be filled.

The Cubs will be active in free agency — whether it is in the deep end of the pool with shortstop Carlos Correa or pitcher Robbie Ray OR bringing back a familiar face remains to be seen — but they will be active. Or at least Ricketts said so.

It will be hard for Cubs fans to trust the organization that just broke their hearts by sending away some of their favorite players to different teams, but at the end of the day the Cubs focus is on building the next great Cubs team — something those trades should go a long way of helping. Plus, the door is not necessarily closed on bringing any of those players back. But as I stated above, and as Jed Hoyer made known in his post-season presser, this team does have some issues and it will have some priorities to address in the offseason.

The good news though, for Cubs fans, is that Ricketts has said the Cubs have and will use the resources to allow them to compete in 2022 and beyond. Let’s just see now if they can trust him.

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