After making his annual address to the players prior to the first full squad workout of the spring, Tom Ricketts met with the media Wednesday and fielded several questions about his team.
Tom Ricketts feels last year was a turning point for the organization. He’s looking forward to this season and to winning ballgames.
“We all believe this year’s team has what it takes to win the division and go to the playoffs,” Ricketts said. “Now it’s just about getting out on the field and getting it started.”
The Cubs have been building the organization to the point it is now and Ricketts explained, “We feel like this is a year where we can start to show results.”
Theo Epstein has maintained he has the financial flexibility to add players if it makes sense for the team moving forward. Ricketts was asked about the big league team’s payroll Wednesday and he said Epstein does have the financial flexibility to add players in the middle of the season.
Tom Ricketts is confident a game-changing TV deal is still a possibility for the Cubs and he’s not concerned about “a cable bubble” because the value of live sports programming continues to grow.
Tom Ricketts confirmed there have not been any further delays on the Wrigley Field Restoration and Expansion Project.
Julian Green indicated Tuesday that the left field video was on schedule to be installed and operational by Opening Night, April 5. And the team expected the left field bleachers to be open on May 11 with the right field bleachers still on target for the end of May.
Tom Ricketts reiterated Wednesday the same timeframe while saying the team “wouldn’t suffer a major financial hit because of the delay of the opening of the left field bleachers” according to the Tribune.
Reports suggested last fall that Ricketts would extend Theo Epstein’s contract during the off-season. At one point, a contract extension for Epstein was expected to be the next big announcement from the team. Theo Epstein said in November he and Tom Ricketts had talked “a while back” about extending his contract, but there have not been any announcements yet.
Theo Epstein would reportedly like to stay with the Cubs and has not thought about leaving. Epstein is on record stating he’s not worried about his contract and has been focused on making improvements to the team, not his own contract. Epstein and Jed Hoyer are working on the same contracts they signed in October 2011 that run through the 2016 season.
Crane Kenney signed an extension that runs through the 2019 season, Jason McLeod inked an extension when he withdrew his name from the Padres’ GM job and Joe Maddon is under contract through the 2019 season.
Tom Ricketts said Wednesday he’s thrilled with the jobs Theo Epstein and Crane Kenney have done. Ricketts has not had any recent discussions with Epstein about an extension. According to Paul Sullivan, Epstein’s contract will eventually get extended and he will receive Andrew Friedman money when it does.
According to the multiple reports when asked about Sammy Sosa on Wednesday, Tom Ricketts responded, “This is about this year’s team, not about Sammy Sosa.”
When asked if Ricketts wanted the Cubs to have a relationship with Sosa, he said, “Look, I’ve always said Sammy was a great player. Regardless of anything else he was a great player but at this point nothing new to report, nothing has really changed.”
Tom Ricketts has maintained that he thinks Sammy Sosa was a great player and he was a fan of Sosa’s when he was with the team.
Patrick Mooney described Ricketts as appearing annoyed while answering the questions about Sammy Sosa.
Tom Ricketts fielded a question about the accusations the Rays made about the Cubs tampering with Joe Maddon. Ricketts said, “From everything I know we did nothing wrong.”
Major League Baseball has been looking into the matter since November and there was a resolution expected before the first of the year. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have maintained the Cubs did not tamper with Maddon and have cooperated with MLB in the investigation.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday his office is still looking into the charges filed by the Rays. Manfred explained Major League Baseball had to conduct a thorough investigation and he expects a resolution by Opening Day.
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet – Sammy Sosa
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Full Report from Bruce Levine
- Full Report from the Tribune