MLBPA Reportedly Concerned About Cubs Lack of Spending

According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Major League Players Union “is concerned about how the Cubs’ business practices are affecting player markets.” Gordon Wittenmyer reported “at least one players agent” met with Tom Ricketts this year about the perceived problem “to make the case for investing in the Major League team.” Wittenmyer did not mention the name of the agent in his report, but it is believed to be Scott Boras that met with Ricketts.

It is unknown if the union “can do anything about the high-revenue team’s years-long trend of spending cuts and roster purges” according to the report. And it “might depend  in part on how much longer it lasts if the union can find grounds for action in Major League Baseball’s debt-ratio rules for clubs.”

The Cubs declined to make a comment to Wittenmyer and the MLB Players Association provided a statement to Wittenmyer on the matter.

“Speaking generally, as one would expect, we monitor the spending of all clubs on a regular basis and if we have concerns we raise them with the Commissioner’s Office. We also understand the cynical nature of this industry, but despite the ups and downs franchises face, we strongly believe that the best way to improve one’s bottom line is to invest in Major League talent.”

The Cubs have cut the big league payroll the last four years as Gordon Wittenmyer reported. The Cubs have focused on building the minor league system and improving the technology and staff in which to do so. The team has also added scouts and revamped the player development department.

Commissioner Bud Selig defended the Cubs’ plan last month, vowed to help the Ricketts family get past the hurdles to renovate Wrigley Field and reviewed “the Cubs’ finances and determined they aren’t in violation of MLB’s debt-ratio rules.”

As Craig Calcaterra reported the MLBPA, MLB and the Marlins “entered into an agreement in which the Marlins agreed to spend more money on players, rather than cut things to the bone in order to rebuild.” The Marlins were in violation of Article XXIV(B)(5)(a) of the Basic Agreement because the Marlins were not using revenue sharing money on their big league roster. The Cubs are not in violation of the same article of the basic agreement because they pay into the revenue system, the Cubs do not draw from it.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Here’s some of the Cubs’ batting stats for 2014:

    Top Avg hitter: Castro, .277
    Castro hit in May like he hit in 2013: only .245 BA. .295 OBP
    I am worried about him….

    Bonifascio’s May stats: .209 BA, 1 SB, 2 CS, .242 OBP, .308 slug.
    Can he sit down now? This is Darwin Barney take II.

    Lake:
    May .316 BA, .341 OBP, .553 slug
    Nice month!

    Rizzo:
    May .241 BA, .380 OBP, .414 slug

    Valbuena:
    May .288 BA, .381 OBP, .507 slug
    He’s the #5 BA leader for the Cubs. He’s having his career year in 2014.

  • Eugene Debs

    How can they not be concerned?

    • Tony_H

      When you represent major league players it is what they should be concerned with, any team that is saying no to the 30 something free agents as anything more than short term fillers and flippables. But like everything else in the business world, everyone gets to make their choices. MLBPA has worked hard to get salaries higher, to the point now where many teams are looking for ways to have to avoid being dependent on the free agency system. At some point, if enough teams keep working to develop their own players more and more, the supply of 30 somethings will bring prices down. Actually it did this winter in Matt Garza’s and a few other SP’s who wanted multi-year deals, but they couldn’t find the AAV they had thought would be out there.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        This whole discussion is funny. Boras is such an ass. The Cubs are spending money, just not on bloated FA contracts.

        • Sonate

          I so agree! Boras isn’t one bit concerned about the players. He’s concerned about his own compensation, which increases as player contracts balloon. Why Ricketts consented to meet with this jerk is a mystery.

          • Jeffrey Rogers

            probably just to appease him because he will have to negotiate with him sooner or later.

      • BillyFinT

        Here’s where I agree with most fans:
        1. The money paid to FA had become outrageously high, compared to a decade ago.
        2. MLBPA has nothing to bite the Cubs, and they shouldn’t. The Marlins have been a bigger concern.

        There are some interesting facts and opinions of mine:
        i. The Pirates actually spent quite a load, mainly half the season past.
        ii. Without MLBPA fighting, the owners would not need to compromise on anything, and baseball will eventually die.
        iiil MLB owners are a collective monopoly of this game.
        iv. I don’t care about the owners. Bring me a winning Cubs team!!!

    • BigJonLilJon

      Who cares if MLBPA is concerned??? The Cubs have broken no rules, therefore the MLBPA has nothing to gripe about. I am sure, at one point in time, the MLBPA was needed. Today is not that day. In some regards… MLBPA has contributed to causing a lions share of the problems the game has today. Tell them to go jump in Lake Michigan!!!

  • Sonate

    “The Marlins were in violation of Article XXIV(B)(5)(a) of the Basic Agreement because the Marlins were not using revenue sharing money on their big league roster.”

    I don’t know when Article XXIV(B)(5)(a) was incorporated into the agreement, but if it was there in 2008-09 I can’t imagine that the Pirates were not in violation of it. They were one of the few teams with positive net income in those years despite having the second lowest attendance in the league. (The lowest? The Marlins, of course.) I hazard a guess that they kept the revenue sharing allocation for themselves, instead of investing it in either the roster or infrastructure.

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    The MLBPA can worry in one hand and crap in the other…..you know the rest.