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.