Ramblings, Accounting and the Brass Tax … Read it All

The Chicago Tribune reported that the Cubs are among nine teams in violation of MLB’s debt service rules according to sources not authorized to disclose the information. The article suggests that the noncompliance relates to rules which limit debt to 10 times of an organization’s earnings. This report does not mean the Cubs cannot pay their payroll, does not mean the Ricketts family is cheap, and does not necessarily mean the Cubs are in dire financial condition. More than likely, what this means is that the Cubs are in violation of a financial covenant of the MLB at a point in time.

More simply, if you took the Cubs earnings at the point in time referenced by the sources divided by debt outstanding, the result is less than 10%. It is not a coincidence that the Dodgers (taken over by MLB in 2011), Rangers (purchased in 2010) and the Nationals (purchased in 2006) also appear on the list of nine teams as all are in big markets and were purchased at high prices in recent years. On the contrary, the Braves (purchased in 2007) and the Padres (2009) do not appear on the list although these are smaller market teams. For the teams purchased in recent years, debt was required to finance the transaction and debt is repaid over a number of years, meaning it is more difficult to achieve compliance with the MLB covenant in the years immediately after the purchase.

The Ricketts paid approximately $845 million for the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25% stake in a regional sports network. When the Ricketts family “purchased” the Cubs, it does not mean they wrote a check for approximately $845 million. MLB organizations are like companies in that they are financed with equity and debt. The Ricketts, like all other organiziations, utilized debt to finance a portion of their purchase of the Cubs. MLB has covenants in place to limit debt levels to prevent situations like the Dodgers. The Cubs are not in the Dodgers situation or anywhere near it.

The Ricketts earned their money from their interest in TD Ameritrade. Joe Ricketts alone has over $1 billion in interest in the Company as of today and that does not count the ownership interest of his children in the company. Without having access to the Cubs financial information, it is not possible to fully assess their financial situation. Based upon an assessment of the facts, they may be in violation of the parameters of a simple calculation. However, given the financial strength of the family and the qualitative consideration that this is a new ownership group, this likely is not a concern of Cubs fans. The fans can continue to worry about the poor performance on the field and not worry about the financial situation of the team.

Now on to the Ramblings …
(Note: This week’s ramblings was written prior to the debt service news that surfaced Thursday night/Friday morning)

Hello. Good day.

First off, I will start by apologizing. Yes, I am sorry. Sorry to anyone I have offended, upset, or disagreed with on this fantastic site. Also, I am sorry to everyone I will most likely continue to disagree with. (Yes, I hate that the sentence ends in a preposition as well.)

However, disagreement and arguments are unavoidable as Cubs fans, or fans of any team, for that matter.

As we move forward with this absolutely abysmal season, please remember this when commenting. No one is right 100 percent of the time. And almost no one is wrong 100 percent of the time. All we ask here at the CCO is that you be respectful of one another. If that is not feasible, then look somewhere else to post.

  • Man, a lot of people sure have bailed on Marmol rather quickly. He hasn’t had a great start to the season, but let’s slow our role on this one. He is not a disaster yet.
  • Granted this could change, but I think it is nearsighted to call his new contract a waste or a bad decision.
  • I mean, there are plenty of things to call out this management for, let’s focus on those if we are going to complain.
  • The negativity is completely understandable, but it is really starting to grate on me. Am I the only one? I am trying to stay positive.
  • And by positive, I do not mean that I have any grand delusions of this team, but that I would rather focus on positives for the future.
  • For everyone, and I know there are plenty, that wanted the youth movement to begin, we are almost there.
  • Here is something I think we can all agree on: What the flying F is Blake DeWitt doing playing left field?
  • I am with everyone on that one. This appears to be Hendry trying to save face and hope DeWitt explodes.
  • On Memorial Day, in reference to D.J. LeMahieu during the Bleacher broadcast, Ricketts said, “I hope he gets a lot of playing time.”
  • So, it appears Tom is in favor of the youngsters. So, let’s see how this works out.
  • Soon enough, it will become very clear who is calling the shots. And if Tom is the one doing so … Jimmy H. can kiss his job goodbye.
  • Ricketts has been in control for about two years, which is a good amount of time to learn the business and figure out what he has. I expect to see changes very soon.
  • Maybe not the big changes every wants yesterday, but small ones that will eventually lead to the big, and more important, necessary ones.
  • If you don’t like Ricketts, fine. That is your prerogative. If you do, that is fine as well.
  • However, I honestly feel that Tom should not truly be judged until he cleans house and rebuilds his management team. At that point, it will be fair, in my opinion.
  • Yes, I fully expect to get RIPPED for that opinion. But that is all it is, an opinion. There is no right or wrong here.
  • If you expected quick and rash decisions from the Ricketts family, then I am sure you are disappointed.
  • And while I don’t disagree with the crux of the idea, he handled the luxury tax deal horribly from a PR perspective. Just horribly. And he has admitted that.
  • At least there is Castro and Barney. Take look at the column Neil put up yesterday in regards to our very own “Double Trouble.”
  • Tony Campana is faster than I thought. I will admit I am surprised. He got thrown out at a very high rate in AA, so I did not expect to see him translate well. I was dead wrong about his speed.
  • Here’s hoping he can keep hitting and maintain an impressive, or, at least, an above-average slash line. If he keeps it up, and as Neil says, I like my crow salty.
  • And while I am at, and he will try to stop me from this, but let’s hear it for Neil and all his hard work. As bad as the Cubs are, it is still nice to come to a place and vent with fellow fans. We would not have the CCO without Neil’s dedication.
  • Thanks, stud!
  • And thanks to all of you who come here day-in day-out to share your thoughts.

So, as it gets tougher and tougher to watch this team, please remember that there has to be a diamond in the rough. It is funny, but being a Cubs fan has shown me how important optimism can be. If you are not familiar with, I suggest you try it some time.

And before any of you go there, yes, I do believe there is a difference between optimism and naiveté!

And to all of the faithful …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!!

Quote of the Day

"And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I'll take the pennant every time." - Carl Yastrzemski
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  • Ripsnorter1

    Brian,

    1. I don’t see how you need to apologize to anyone. You’ve always been classy in my book–hanging prepositions and all.

    2. I guess everyone has to deal with being a Cubs’ fan in their own way. When I was a kid, you’d come home and the women of the household would be crying because the Cubs’ lost another heart-breaker. Others try to stay “positive” and “optimistic.” Some Cubs’ fans are native. Others, in my opinion, are so expecting a WS out of this team that I can only say they must be drunk–not with liquor, but Cubs’ Kool-Aid. My way of dealing with this slop (since 1968), after being all of the above, is to coldly and rationally look at what we actually have, and root for the players individually and corporately to be what I think they really are. I will take joy in the Cubs matching my prediction of 70 wins. I will take joy because I will have been right about my assessment of Mr. Jim Clueless’ work. Last year the Cubs won one more game than I fore casted, and I thought I had a pretty good year.

    3. Ricketts strikes me as a wealthy man who knows absolutely nothing about baseball. He knows business and money; but in my opinion, he doesn’t know anything about how to run a winning franchise. In the end he may regret buying this team, since a lack of winning may drain him of cash. I’m not so sure that Cubs’ fans are going to blindly accept losing like they have in the past–like sheep going to the slaughter  I’d tell him to his face–just in case he doesn’t know it already–he paid way, way too much for this team. I’d also tell him that if he doesn’t get a real GM, he may continue to be upside down financially with this team.

    4. Finally–about Ricketts–you say to reserve judgment until he cleans house and rebuilds management. You may need to rethink or rephrase that statement. Here’s a thought to consider: what if Mr. Ricketts keeps Jim Clueless after this season? Are you telling us that we should reserve judgment until Jim Clueless’ next contract expires? Or are you taking it for granted that Ricketts will fire Clueless after this season? My point is that Ricketts will be judged based on what he does with the Clueless One this offseason. Any more patience with Ricketts than that is not patience–it is blind faith and insanity/

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    Brian:

    True that about Neil. The guy is 24/7 cub. We are blessed to have him.

  • The Maven

    Happy Anniversary Cubs fans!

    On this day in 2003, Sammy Sosa was caught with a corked bat.

    And so it goes………..

  • Agustinrexach

    Yup, Neil is a beast. Like Barney And Castro he is one if the few positives And so are you Brian. Keep it going!!!

    • Rickets seem like people who care about the fans. They might be lost but I think JH won’t make it 4 weeks after the allstar.

  • T_Leise

    For everyone that wants Hendry fired immediatly, you can’t fire him a month or two before the draft. And you can’t tell him or say publicly that he’s going to be fired. I’m not sure when the best time to fire a GM is, but I’m pretty sure it not in the first two months of the season.

  • Ripsnorter1

    About Marmol . . . .
    I am NOT one of those wanting to trade him away. My philosophy is that you trade away your problems and failures, and keep your solutions. This guy is a solution. He’s a great 6,7 or 8th inning setup man. He’s a decent closer. He knows how to get strikeouts when you need them. And everyone has a bad day every now and then. 

    • cubtex

      Rip. Marmol is one of the assets the Cubs have that will bring back a nice return. Unless you believe that the Cubs will be a playoff team next year….you deal him. I believe Marmol does not have a long shelf life. He is a blown out arm waiting to happen. If you can get a top starting pitching prospect and another top prospect for Marmol….I would do it. They have options to close in Cashner and some power arms in the minors. The pressing need for next year is their starting rotation. If McNutt and Casner are not going to be in the rotation…they need to pick up some arms thru trade.

      • cubtex

        One more point on dealing Marmol. When I brought this scenario up weeks ago…many said…why do you want to run him out of town? Again, you don’t only trade someone because they did something wrong….you trade a player if it can help your ballclub going forward. Improving the starting rotation at this point is much more important than having a dominant closer.

        • John_CC

          Completely agree.  I has nothing to with “running someone out of town”. I has to with improving the team. 

          My philosophy is: what is the point of a dominant closer if the team can’t even get 50% of their games to the 9th inning with a lead? 

          If the team is not going to contend, than it is pointless to have one of the best closers in the game. Marmol has enormous value. He is the one guy that could bring an actual return of top prospects.  It’s not about running him out or turning on him or any of that. I like Marmol. It’s just part of the game.

      • Dorasaga

        Last October, I was one of the few who wanted GM Hendry to sign Marmol a 3-year contract. I even mathed out a projection of the contract, and it fits what Hendry gave Marmol (the GM’s rare-good decision).

        But you know, if change must be instilled, then it’s better to unthink the Cubs Think, if ever possible. Senior Nasty is under a good contract. Other ballclubs will pursue.

        Though MIND!, A trade that involves Marmol can ever benefit the Cubs if and only if J.Hendry be fired. The message needs to be clear. The organization needs to look beyond the current patches. A trade of worth value must be done with a new way of baseball.

        Hendry never changes. Gold will turn dust, and Marmol devalued!

  • Cloycub13

    Brian,

    – Again I have to echo Rip’s sentiment here. You have nothing to apologize for! You are classy, You are a Cub fan, and you are entitled to your opinion.

    -I think the deal with Marmol is a sell high situation. I guess the concept is this: If you can’t get consistent starting pitching (Davis, Lopez, Coleman, Russell), You can’t hit your way out of a paper bag when it counts, so you can’t score any runs…what good is it to have an all star caliber closer? I believe Marmol is All star caliber! I believe he is one of the nastiest relievers in all of baseball! I believe he is maddening at times! I believe the Cubs could get a boatload for him if they dealt him. I do not want to see Hendry making that trade.

    -Positives…hmmmmmm. Castro, Barney, Marshall, Garza (when healthy), Zambrano, Dempster and Pena as of late. The kids when they play, Losing, yes I believe losing is a positive, if it involves the immediate and soon to be unceremonious departure of one James Eugene Hendry, JH, Jimmy clueless, Satan.

    -Negatives…Well here is where I get myself in trouble. Soriano in left and at the plate with anyone on base, Byrd breaking his face, Fukudome being what we all know he is now that the calendar has flipped, Aram’s power outage or new norm depending on your perspective, KOYIE FREAKING HILL, Soto injured again, 4 starting pitchers named Davis, Lopez, Russell and Coleman, BLAKE DEWITT IN LEFT REGULARLY, Young guys getting chastised for things the vets do every day, young guys sitting their arses on the bench the whole time they are up, Quade, Quade Quade Quade Quade Quade, finding new ways to lose, NO FUNDAMENTALS STILL, burning through the bullpen like an after dinner ciggy, leaving starters in too long…the obvious and the ridiculous… Quade Quade Quade Quade!

    -Ricketts, well, when they were annouced I submitted, like many on here, a list of things I would like done. It would be fun, Neil, to repost those lists, he has done a few, but he has missed on a few. The most important thing that he needs to do immediately following the Draft (Which is next week BTW not months away) is fire the entire front office staff not including Fleita and Wilken.
    That includes but is not limited to: Crane priest blessing/Macaroni noodle/Good ole boy Kenney, Jim Hendry. Step 2, hire brilliant baseball people. Pat Gillick as baseball consultant/Czar, hire a smart GM. OK that’s done. Have that new GM evaluate Mr. Quade and see what he thinks about his abilities and capabilities as a major league manager. If he sees what we see…well you get the rest. And lastly, call up the Philadelphia Phillies organization ask to be xferred to Lehigh Valley, arrange a meeting, and go beg for forgiveness.

    -And lastly, NEIL ROCKS!!!!!!!!! Amazing! And has created the BEST Cubs site in the land! I do think we should try to arrange a CCO group outing to Wrigley Field, meet the people we banter with all year long, and have a huge Sign/Banner promoting the site so WGN and the baseball loving world could see what a massive following this great site has! If we show them, they will come and they will be amazed. That is all thanks to you Neil! And the Support of your family and Cat.

    Sorry for the long post, as always you inspire that in me Brian.

    Go Cubs! 

  • Ripsnorter1

    Speaking of the upcoming draft . . . . .the biggest bust of the last ten years, according to ESPN . . . .

    1. Matt Bush, San Diego Padres, 2004 (No. 1 overall)Now that Bush is trying to remake himself as a relief pitcher with the Rays, he’s destined to become the first position player drafted No. 1 overall not to reach the big leagues as a position player since the Mets selected catcher Steve Chilcott with the top pick in 1966 instead of Reggie Jackson. Gotta love those Mets, too. Passing on Reggie Jax.   LOL

  • Ripsnorter1

    The Cubs are #2 in MLB for Batting Average at .272–behind Cards .283.

    BUT…..
    The Cubs are #17 of 30 teams in MLB for runs scored!The Cards are #1 in MLB with 287 (57 more than the Cubs).

    Dumpster/Dempster goes tonight vs. Jamie Garcia. Garcia has already tossed two complete game shutouts this year (11 starts).

    Dempster has 12 starts, 0 CG, and 6.00 ERA. His .286 BAA is pretty high. And with garbage stats like this, he is still 4-4.Most of that damage was done in April. In May he had 5 good starts and one bad start. He’s turned things around.Garcia is 5-1, 3.28 ERA and the league is hitting .248 off of him. That after his last start he went just 3.1 IP, gave up 11 H and 12 runs, 11 of which were ER!His ERA would be 1.93 without the last start. 

    Accuscore gives the Cubs a 42% chance of winning tonight.For those who want to dump Marmol, I suggest you look at Ryan Franklin. NOW there’s a guy you don’t want to be your closer.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Houston won last night and are tied with the Cubs for last place in the NL with 23 wins. Only the Twins, with 17 wins, are worse than the Cubs. 

    Houston has the Patsies tonight, and are underdogs.Pirates, 3 games ahead of the Cubs after blowing a 7-0 lead vs. the Lousy Mets, are underdogs vs. Phillies.Cubs are road dogs vs. Cards. It could be an easy 0-3 night (or 3-0–depending on how you look at it) in this race for last place.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Card’s Holliday is on the DL. He’s a big bat.

    Pujols isn’t hitting vs. the rest of the league this year. TOO much pressure about counting out $300 million dollars. I”m expecting him to recover vs. Cubs’ pitching. 

  • jw

    CCO is  more entertaining than this team. Kudos to Neil for keeping it vibrant while the team flails away.

    So if the debt rules are 10-1 and net debt on the deal was about $500 mil does that mean the Cubs are earning less than 50 mil per season…what will happen when fans stop believing and buying which appears to be just the start of a big change. (You cannot sell a ticket at face value at this time) What happens to repairs at Wrigly and the payroll. Might be a lot of pressure from the top to win games but half price hot dogs are not going to bring them in Tom.

    I am sure the Ricketts have a lot of theri assets pledged as collateral so unless they have other large debt there is not a danger of default…but the are going to bleed and there may be a time they wonder what possessed them to make this buy. Let’s see how creative they are in generating revenue…it won’t be because of what’s happening in baseball operations.

    Two years was a waste of time. The first order of business should have been to replace Hendry.

  • paulcatanese

    Tom,again no need to apologize, I do it every day,sometimes twice a day on the site. But then I don’t know as much as you and Neil. I have said it many times you guys are a life saver for me and look forward each and every day for the site. The people you and Neil draw here are very enjoyable and knowledgable. And again one of the best sites I have seen. Keep it up,both of you.

  • Cloycub13

    So I located the archives for the memo to Mr. Ricketts. Some fun stuff on there.
     
    1-More television streams to the masses like what WGN used to be…NOPE!

    2-Blow up Wrigley, keeping key parts of the stadium-NOPE!

    3-Eliminate Guest Singers for the stretch-NOPE!

    4-Fire Hendry-NOPE!

    5-Ask Piniell if he wants one more year (Guess he didn’t), hire an interim IGuess they did that, and announce Ryno as the manager in 2011-BIG TIME FAIL AND A NOPE!

    6-Rudy as the hitting coach-YEP, but alot of good that has done us.

    7-Fire Rothschilde-I May have been shortsighted on this one, but he has been purged by his own doing so I guess a SORTA Applies here.

    8-Reassess the player model for the draft, less of the “Most Athletic” and more “Pure baseball player”- Based on what I have heard…NOPE!

    9-Set the payroll to 145 mil imeediately, Reduce it to 130mil over 3 seasons unless the next Albert Pujols comes along-Well a YEP here but still mismanaged funds so a FAIL here at the moment.

    10-Pursue Carl Crawford-NOPE!

    Looks like in my assessment Tommy Boy still has a lot of work to do.

    The rest of the posts are great, good to see some of the old CCO’ers. Just amazing the contrast of Hope to today.

  • Mitchinam

    Ripsnorter…..your comment reminded me of when I was a very young teen growing up in Chicago; that I was so emotionally vested in these guys (and they were on EVERY day on local WGN TV)..that when they lost a close one, or blew one, or “fell a dollar short”…I would literally scream and cry. As I became an adult, like most of us we learned how to seperate ourselves emotionally (to a point). I really thought Pinella’s boys had a shot; and hey two post seasons in a row doesn’t suck…but now I realize we are back to bad/mediocre. I don’t make a point to watch the occasional game that is actually on national WGN these days (between the Network broadcast exclusivity and  local pay cable exclusivity, we here in Nebraska just don’t see em that often)…it’s like watching a loved one that is on life support, after awhile you just can’t take it. So I catch up with this great FB page and other sources and move on. But I will ALWAYS bleed Cubbie blue. Im just now realizing though that at 53….I very well may not see a Cubs WS championship. Wow.

    • paulcatanese

      I understand where you are coming from, but try it at age 77 (not sunset strip)
      I may well not see it my lifetime and are hoping in my second life would not have to wait another 77 years for it to happen, but I wouldnt count on it, just have to play it lifetime to lifetime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

     I am going to talk about the this Debt business. Half of the Cubs overall price was in long term loans without interest coming due sometime in 2012. This was done because Sam Zell and the Tribune Co lied about the financing being in place to do a complete remodel of Wrigley Field. Meaning the Ricketts thought that new revenue streams would have been in place by the time the loans came due and over extended to get the ball rolling.
     
    This has become a PR nightmare for the Ricketts family as far as funding to get done what was promised to be in place to begin with. You see people griping about Tom Ricketts asking for public money to fix Wrigley all the time so I guess he has it coming for trusting a VC guy like Zell to be totally honest in his dealings.

    Now that is just in Chicago not talking about the amount of debt that is in place for the new school in the Dominican Republic or the new ST home in Mesa that some people are so PO’d about. That takes a lot of leverage to get the ball moving on stuff like that even with the bond issue that passed in Mesa.

    Everyone gripes about the ownership raising ticket prices every year while the product on the field has gone down. I do understand where that gripe is coming from but lets be honest. If what I said was true( it was reported that way nationally when the sale was made) then Ricketts had no choice but to do so to cover the lack of revenue because they were flat lied to.

    So in closing yes the Cubs are caring more Debt that they are suppose to. But it is from the set up of buying the franchise which MLB gave the thumbs up to  before ever agreeing to letting the Ricketts buy the franchise. They knew that they would be leveraged this much until 2012 or Zell lied to MLB about there financials as well. Either way I think that this is blip on the the screen that will correct itself in the next couple years.

    • paulcatanese

      Wow,Richard that totaly blows me away that the Ricketts could not have been aware that financing was in place for improvements and were lied to by Zell.
      I would ask what may be a stupid question,but was that information from Zell in writng or verbal? Seems to me that the Ricketts with supposeably all their high finanace experience would have seen or qualified that from Zell. If not then they completely bought a pig in a poke. If they had the approval of Major League baseball before agreeing and were aware that Zell had lied I would think a penalty would be choice against Zell. This seems to be a rather flippant way to buy a baseball franchise. With allowing that to happen either way by MLB it would seem that baseball as a whole could be on the brink(the other way being the Cubs leveraged that until 2012.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

         I do not know which way the stuff was worded and again all I have in that statement is the reporting that was done on WSJ at the time of the sale. I do know that there has been a number of Investigated reports on Zells business dealings on a number of issues since he purchased the LA Times. He has a history and it is not good one as far as being honest is concerned. I do know that the reasons for the delay in ownership and things like that were caused by MLB questioning the details before signing off on the deal.
        When you deal with VC guys you take a chance that some of them are just hustlers and sharks. It looks from the outside looking in that Ricketts swam with the sharks.

        • paulcatanese

          Good answer Richard, I believe it happened the way you stated it and it further confirms that I do not think Ricketts is that well versed on this type of deal.
          Goes back to the old saying”buyer beware”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

             I agree that they got the short end on this deal but you never hear them complaining about it publicly. That is a good thing. I think that they did do there do diligence on this deal. They just thought they were in a stronger position with the stadium than they were.
             Remember until the end of 2007 or so it was agreed that the new owners would get the team and Jim Thomson’s  group would buy Wrigley. I do not know why that fell through just that then the new owners had to purchase Wrigley as well and the price went up by over 100 million. I think they looked at the value of the land around Wrigley and did not think there was anyway to loose money on it. The verdict is still out on that one.

  • Aaron

    Brian,

    I respect your opinion, and I agree with most of what you said. There were a few differences of opinion, and they are…

    #1: I suggested dealing Marmol…others suggested dumping him after a bad night. Those are 2 very different statements if you can believe that. And even those suggesting dumping him after a bad night, probably had the same idea in mind. Marmol, along with Marshall and possibly Garza are the 3 pitchers on the entire staff that would command multiple top prospects. That’s a profound statement when you consider Dempster and Z make $14 and 18 million apiece. If Cashner was healthy and continued off his successful start, I’d add him to the list. But when you’re rebuilding, you need to trade as many of those guys as possible. Outside of those guys, you have just Byrd (prior to injury), Castro (who you wouldn’t want to trade), Soto (prior to injury), and maybe ARAM…..maybe…..that would command any decent return in a trade. Marmol is 28 years old. His velocity is down from 96-97 mph that he was throwing last year, and resides more in the 90-93 mph range. Thus, his slider has also dipped in velocity, making him more hittable, and it shows, with his WHIP being 1.315 (up from 1.185 last year) where he has given up 18 hits in 24 1/3 IP. Decreased velocity, increased WHIP….usually doesn’t bode well for a closer, and the Cubs would be very wise to explore the trade market for him. If top prospects aren’t offered, then you don’t move him. Plain and simple.

    #2: I believe most fans think Ricketts has no balls, and does not exercise his clout at all, because he had around 2 to 3 years during the purchasing process to investigate what he has with management, players, etc. It’s NOT just disgruntled fans that seem to think Jim Hendry is a moron……it’s reporters, other GM’s, announcers on ESPN, and their baseball cast on ESPN we’ve all heard it from now. Face the facts….while they are nothing more than entertainers and commentators, I majority of them spend a good amount of time around the team, as well as other teams, and they know more than we do about how the dynamics work within organizations. Hendry has NOT done a good job with the Cubs, and if he didn’t have Piniella in 2007 where he commanded respect and rallied the team back from a sure end to their season and got them in the playoffs…..the Cubs might’ve only made it to the playoffs in 2003 and 2008. The fact is, Hendry has kept his job throughout the years by two key acquisitions: ARAM and Lee….plus, the fact the Cubs have made the playoffs 3 times, and in back-to-back seasons in ’07 and ’08 for the first time in decades. But in seasons like 2002, 2004 (with all the distractions that he should’ve prevented), 2005, 2006, 2010, and now 2011, which were absolutely abysmal seasons, it shows exactly who he is as a GM, and he can’t stack up against the rest of the league.

    So, like Quade, I was willing to give the Ricketts the benefit of the doubt when they completed the purchase of the team, but talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words, and everything coming out of their mouths (both Quade and the Ricketts) is horsesh$t. 

    Quade talking about playing young guys, not finding them AB’s, then when injuries happen and veterans are scuffling, he still can’t find them, and they get optioned, and he says it’s because they need to play more. LOL….and as if that weren’t enough….

    The Ricketts are now using Hendry’s age-old excuse that injuries have a lot to do with their poor performance thus far. Last time I checked, the Cubs were 3-2 when Cashner and Wells went on the shelf, which were the first injuries….and before their next scheduled starts, the Cubs were 4-4, the definition of mediocrity, and would battle back and forth between that point until April 23rd, when they slid further behind .500. In fact, it wasn’t until about the 2nd week of May when the Cubs experienced injury issues with everyday players, so that lame excuse should be thrown out the window. The fact is, they started the season as a mediocre team, and due to injuries, they ended up being the laughingstock of the league, especially with a Top 5 payroll.

    • Cloycub13

      Hell of a post Buddy!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      I totally agree Aaron with your assessment of Marmol. If you want to rebuild you have to offer pieces people want. Marmol, Marshall, and I think Zambrano (if he keeps working like he has the last few starts) are the pieces that will give you the most return right now just because of health.

       I am also of the opinion that certain young cubs should be available before their value drops from exposure .I know that is a hard pill to swallow but when you have 4 2nd base/shortstops in your system that are almost ready and all of them have a higher ceiling than your guy that is playing now you have to listen. Not take any offers that are thrown but listen.

      The other day on another site there was a question asked what you would ask for Castro. I never commented because I wanted to look at what was available first. Now I think I know where the conversation would start. I think it STARTS with Upton and Drew from Arizona. That would be one young star potential player with service time and a polished shortstop in his prime. I know no team would be willing to start a conversation there but if you held the water mark there and got blown away, it would help rebuild in a hurry.

    • Brian

      Aaron,

      I completely agree with you about Jim Hendry.  I might have been a little slow on the uptake, but I am there now.  It must end.

  • cubs1967

    time to address the obvious:
    the #1 problem w/ this team is the owners. clueless on how to run a baseball team(shouldn’t that be a requirement; what questions does uncle Bud ask??) and now e learn financially imcompetent as they are too heavily debt structured.
    which, despite the blogger’s comments are NOT a concern; are a HUGE concern; as we’ve seen the last 2 years of increase tickets and lower payroll; which I imagine will be a trend as the PK McCaskey ownership cannot afford this team. they asked for public money for mesa and wrigley dump; they’ve delayed mesa till 2014 to avoid having to put in their portion of funds.
    they simply cannot afford more debt as that would violate the debt rules even more………..w/o seeing their financials; especially in this “new” world of economic failures, i.e. madoff, the wilfpons, mccourts, goldman & sachs, GM, chrysler, worldcom, enron, the list goes on forever, now we know w/ this article that the pk mccaskey and family are in too deep.
    NEVER, ever, should this team been bought for $845M; Forbes has it now at $775M and no one would pay more than 700M…….for what??? a 5th place team 2 yrs running under tommy, bad management, a stadium needing at least 200M to fix, bad tv and radio rights thanks to the tribune, an “antiquity” status attached to the stadium that costs millions in advertising (look at fenway and compare to the dump), plus a “neighborhood” that thinks night games are not allowed……..
    frankly, the team and the owners financials are a mess………and bud ” steriods, what steriods??” selig is at fault.
    i highly doubt joe “pop” ricketts will allow the family fortune to get pissed away on the cubs…….he does not even like sports (look at his youtube talk from sept 2010 about how the deal went down; at 1 point that almost bailed(damn) so if the team cannot produce revenue to lower the debt; the family is not gonna bail them out; they’ll sell it………meaning payroll is going down and the highest tix in baseball are gonna go up; espeically when the avg attendance of 35K is paid; but at least 5K per game are missing which will cost them millions in revenue.
    w/o help from the bankrupt state (never) or the broke city of chicago(rahm would like to run for president or at least 2 terms; so you think he’ll help billionaires??…….please) when will the stadium get a 20 yr overdue rehab??
    from the MLB debt violators ricketts…….w/ what more debt??….

    face it fans, right now if JH and quade get canned; do you think we’ll get better, like omar minaya better…….it could get worse.

    ricketts is a joke of an owner; the Score and ESPN 1000 both this week have hammered him, the newspapers are too…….

    for a team i love; for a fanbase that deserves so much better; cubs fans have a clueless; debt ridden; jack up tix price owner……..and in 10 years we will be looking at 113 yrs and no championship……..and the same dump.

    i dare anyone on here name 1 thing ricketts has done where you said; great move???

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Bit of bad news from the farm. Robert Whitenack will have Tommy John Surgery on Tuesday

    • Brian

      NOOOOOOOOO.

    • cubs1967

      and the list of golden arms to dust grows:

      wood
      prior
      guzman
      grant johnson
      mark pawlek
      rich hill
      cashner
      whitenack

      just keeps gettin’ better……………..

    • cubtex

      Wow! I wonder if that enhances the chances of drafting a pitcher with the #9 pick on Monday?

    • paulcatanese

      Wow Neil,kind of makes on a little hesitant to put on a Cub uniform these days.

    • cc002600

      they really, really, really are cursed.
      It’s unbelievable.

  • paulcatanese

    Tom,Campna is faster than anyone of us thought. I would say the oddity of him being caught so many times in AA may be his inability to correctly read the moves of the pitcher. I have noticed with his leads he does not able to get as much as he should and a lot of the time is leaning back. Hopefully with some help from Denier he will improve that. But the speed is there. He already makes infielders change their approach when he steps into the box. So many good things happen,rushed throws,shallower infield play and if he gets three or more bounces on a ground ball he is there. I love watching him run, if there were a brick wall between home and first I believe he would run thru it. Not as fast as I was when I was playing but he’s close. (ha ha on the last sentence).

  • ZT

    Trey McNutt also got hurt yesterday. He had to leave after 2 innings. McNutt was involved in a collision while fielding, tried to stay in the game, but eventually had to leave.

  • Ken Hubbs

       Brian,

          Thanks for the timely post that probably saved me from sounding too hateful and venomous.  Nothing but kudos to Neil, yourself, and the other contributors to this site for the constant flow of info and insight, all done with passion and class.  Thanks to the regular posters, too.  Lots of considered opinions and real insight from guys that really know the game from personal experience.  Oh, and a lot of you are genuinely funny.
          I don’t often post because most points have been well made, multiple times, by the time I read them, but feel I compelled to stress a couple of things.  Just one point about Hendry.  It is not that he chose Quade over Sandberg, it was how Sandberg was treated.  To me, it speaks volumes about the ego, personality, manuvuerings, and mindset of our current GM, so I do not view it as one little isolated incident to just blow off and move on from.  To me, anyway, this was/is huge.
        Mr. Ricketts.  You did your due diligence.  Regardless of what you thought, or what you now think, this is your front office.  I won’t go build a tree platform and refuse to come down until Hendry is gone, but I am worried sick, buoyed only by this site and its posters, and protected only by the scar tissue that comes from being a Cub’s fan for six decades.  Not that you don’t understand, Mr. Ricketts, but you are the owner/protector of one of the most beloved franchises in sports.
    At least since 1945, most Cub fans have survived on hope and lowered expectations.  We obviously don’t ask for much.  But somehow, now, there is a dread like I have never noticed or personally felt.  The ‘ship’ seems to be without rudder.  A noticeable, positive direction, a sense of purpose, a plan – these would restore hope and make being a Cub fan enjoyable again, instead of 
    feeling like we have some chronic, untreatable condition.
        Would I like to see the youngsters get a decent chance to show what they can do?  Yes.   Do I want to see Hendry trade for one more ‘piece’.  Uh, no.  For the sake of brevity, I have been short of examples, but many have been commented on repeatedly.  If you want specifics, I could go Aaronesque on you.
        This is definitely the Reader’s Digest condensed (and PG) version, but I thank you for the chance to have a say.  Thanks again to the people who run and comment on this site.

  • Tom U

    As Walt Whitman said

    “I see good things in baseball …. it will keep us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set…”

    Thank you Brian for keeping this all in perspective.