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3Fingers
05-18-2010, 11:51 AM
Here's some interesting stuff about Cubs' owner Tom Ricketts from this week's Sports Illustrated:


During a game last week Ricketts, 44, wore not only a blue fleece Cubs pullover but also a corporate ID around his neck held by a lanyard reading CUBS: IT'S A WAY OF LIFE. He watched not from the isolation of an owner's box but from a front-row seat directly behind the team's on-deck circle. Between innings he roamed the upper stands handing out baseballs and posing for photos. "The fans' fine motor skills can get [shaky] as the games go on," he observed.

But—in a Bill Murray meets Bill James kind of way—Ricketts is also a businessman, specifically a data-driven "quant guy." While some of his wealth comes from TD Ameritrade, the online brokerage company started by his father, J. Joseph, Ricketts multiplied his own fortune as cofounder of Incapital LLC, a Chicago investment bank. He looks for inefficiencies. He thinks about game theory. He tosses off terms like "regression models" and "delta analysis." As Lou Piniella, the Cubs' manager, put it last week, "He's a fan, but he's a real businessperson. Talk to Tom and you can tell he's real, you know, mathematical."

I did not know this about Ricketts, at least as far as baseball is concerned. It kind of gives me hope for the future (once he can get out from under some of these contracts) that he can turn this organization into an efficient one. At least he's heard of the word "efficiency."

Click here for full article. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1169161/index.htm)

Ron!n
05-18-2010, 11:58 AM
Very interesting find. Definitely adds some optimism going forward.

THE_G.O.A.T.
05-18-2010, 12:17 PM
If Rickettes is a true business "guru" then he will not want to spend a lot on players in the future. He knows he will sell tickets even if the Cubs are an 75 win team compared to a 95 win team. And I'm not saying you have to spend a ton of money to be good either. I hope we get better development in the farm system. That would cost less, and is the true core of every successful baseball franchise. The motto is "It's a way of life" meaning baseball isn't the only important thing. I interpret the motto to be "Even if the team is not that good you should still come here to watch baseball because it's a way of life in Chicago."

Why have a 150 million dollar payroll, when you could have a 90 to 100 million dollar payroll and still make similar profits?

Anyways, he should realize that the farm system needs to be developed better and high priced free agents are not a great way to build a solid baseball team.

cubsneedmiracle
05-18-2010, 01:45 PM
Wow..

Pretty sure we have the right guy for the job.

Jilly Bohnson
05-18-2010, 02:03 PM
The only thing that worries about me is if he's too big of a fan, which from interviews it sounds like he's going out of his way not to be. But I believe he said Derrek Lee is his favorite player this winter. Well, assuming Derrek Lee rebounds(because if not the choice is easy), do we resign him? It's probably not a good idea considering he'll be 35 and all the great 3b in next year's class. That'll be the test for me as to whether we've become a progressive team, is if we'll be willing to let Lee go if he has another good year.

Ron!n
05-18-2010, 02:44 PM
Id think the smart choice on Lee is to offer Arbitration. If he accepts he might be a bit expensive, but at least we can have a stopgap till all the great 1b next year.

Jilly Bohnson
05-18-2010, 02:57 PM
Id think the smart choice on Lee is to offer Arbitration. If he accepts he might be a bit expensive, but at least we can have a stopgap till all the great 1b next year.

Yeah, but in arb he'll probably make something like 16 or 17 million. If we think we can compete that's an inefficient way of using that money, and if we don't it's a waste of 17 million.

DamnGoat
05-18-2010, 03:18 PM
I'm cautiously optimistic. I wanna see how he handles the offseason with big money coming off the books (Lee, Lilly) and who the new manager is, assuming this is Lou's last season.

Ron!n
05-18-2010, 03:22 PM
Yeah, but in arb he'll probably make something like 16 or 17 million. If we think we can compete that's an inefficient way of using that money, and if we don't it's a waste of 17 million.
Yeah but if you want to compete theres not much choice outside of going hard after A-Gon.

Jilly Bohnson
05-18-2010, 03:38 PM
Yeah but if you want to compete theres not much choice outside of going hard after A-Gon.

Adam Laroche would be a pretty decent option, and would cost several million less too.

Although I'm pretty pessimistic about next year regardless.

Mell413
05-18-2010, 03:42 PM
Interesting find. I had an idea he was the right guy for the job for a while, but this confirms it. I'm curious to see how he handles this off-season.

Ron!n
05-18-2010, 04:03 PM
Adam Laroche would be a pretty decent option, and would cost several million less too.

Although I'm pretty pessimistic about next year regardless.
Well i think it really depends on Rickett's long term plans.If hes looking to rebuild, i think he just starts shedding all the contracts.

However, if he plans on going hard in 2012 and doesnt want to "alienate" the fanbase, i think hed resign Lee for a year and get at it in the 2011 FA class. Only because letting a fan favorite in Lee go and signing LaRoche probably causes some whiplash in merchandise and sales.

Jilly Bohnson
05-18-2010, 04:15 PM
Well i think it really depends on Rickett's long term plans.If hes looking to rebuild, i think he just starts shedding all the contracts.

However, if he plans on going hard in 2012 and doesnt want to "alienate" the fanbase, i think hed resign Lee for a year and get at it in the 2011 FA class. Only because letting a fan favorite in Lee go and signing LaRoche probably causes some whiplash in merchandise and sales.

As little credit as I give Cubs fans, I think we could sell them on letting Lee go, since he's 35 and Fielder and Agon are on the market the next year. Kind of like how the Knicks management sold their fans on dreams of Lebron, although obviously this is on a much smaller scale. Long term obviously we don't want him, and short term we can probably do more with Laroche and 5-7 million than with Lee.

Mell413
05-18-2010, 04:16 PM
I think Cubs fans would still come to the ballpark regardless if Lee is there or not.

3Fingers
05-19-2010, 11:21 AM
The only thing that worries about me is if he's too big of a fan, which from interviews it sounds like he's going out of his way not to be. But I believe he said Derrek Lee is his favorite player this winter. Well, assuming Derrek Lee rebounds(because if not the choice is easy), do we resign him? It's probably not a good idea considering he'll be 35 and all the great 3b in next year's class. That'll be the test for me as to whether we've become a progressive team, is if we'll be willing to let Lee go if he has another good year.
I know there has to be a balance between businessman and fan, but honestly I don't mind him being a fan. At least it means cares about the team's performance on the field, unlike the Tribune, which only cared about the club's performance at the bank.

As for Adrian Gonzalez, don't jump to conclusions too quickly. He's from the San Diego area and has been very outspoken in his desire to stay there. It seemed a foregone conclusion that San Diego would be out of the race by July and he would be dealt at the deadline this year. That would have made his availability in free agency a certainty.

But San Diego has played great baseball for a sustained period of time ... not just this year, but the second half of last year, as well. If they're in the race at midseason, he's not going anywhere. And if they make the playoffs, the likelihood of him re-signing in San Diego goes up.

When asked where he thought he'd be in August, Gonzalez said, "San Diego. In a pennant race." HE thinks he's staying.

I do think you're right on the money about DLee. He's the test case for Tom Ricketts and his quest for efficiency. Lee isn't getting any younger. At some point, his production is going to start declining (if we're not seeing it already -- I hope not). Re-signing him for more than a year would virtually guarantee his decline would come in a Cubs uniform. As much as we all love DLee, re-signing him would mean the Ricketts scale swings toward fandom and away from efficiency.

LaToyaHawkins
05-19-2010, 02:53 PM
Rickets being a good business man, to me, doesn't translate into optimism. For example, Jerry Reinsdorf is an extremely good business man and the White Sox are horrible. True, they won in 2005, but the White Sox are a far-cry from the perennial heavy weights (ie Yankees, Red Sox, etc). Being a good business man doesn't guarantee championships. A lot of GM's made their fortunes in business.

Jilly Bohnson
05-19-2010, 03:02 PM
I know there has to be a balance between businessman and fan, but honestly I don't mind him being a fan. At least it means cares about the team's performance on the field, unlike the Tribune, which only cared about the club's performance at the bank.

As for Adrian Gonzalez, don't jump to conclusions too quickly. He's from the San Diego area and has been very outspoken in his desire to stay there. It seemed a foregone conclusion that San Diego would be out of the race by July and he would be dealt at the deadline this year. That would have made his availability in free agency a certainty.

But San Diego has played great baseball for a sustained period of time ... not just this year, but the second half of last year, as well. If they're in the race at midseason, he's not going anywhere. And if they make the playoffs, the likelihood of him re-signing in San Diego goes up.

When asked where he thought he'd be in August, Gonzalez said, "San Diego. In a pennant race." HE thinks he's staying.

I do think you're right on the money about DLee. He's the test case for Tom Ricketts and his quest for efficiency. Lee isn't getting any younger. At some point, his production is going to start declining (if we're not seeing it already -- I hope not). Re-signing him for more than a year would virtually guarantee his decline would come in a Cubs uniform. As much as we all love DLee, re-signing him would mean the Ricketts scale swings toward fandom and away from efficiency.

Yeah I agree with that, I just hope he doesn't have TOO much fan in him is all. Which we'll see this year. IF we have a Steinbrenner or Angelos on our team that would suck. Unless of course he gives us the financing of Steinbrenner.

As for Agon, I just can't bring myself to trust this Padres team, although they keep chugging along which means I need to probably reevaluate. But yeah, if they do keep winning, he's not going anywhere until free agency, and maybe not even then if the ownership situation clears up.

scrubs101
05-19-2010, 03:41 PM
Yeah I agree with that, I just hope he doesn't have TOO much fan in him is all. Which we'll see this year. IF we have a Steinbrenner or Angelos on our team that would suck. Unless of course he gives us the financing of Steinbrenner.

As for Agon, I just can't bring myself to trust this Padres team, although they keep chugging along which means I need to probably reevaluate. But yeah, if they do keep winning, he's not going anywhere until free agency, and maybe not even then if the ownership situation clears up.

no way they let him walk for nothing in return

Jilly Bohnson
05-19-2010, 04:35 PM
no way they let him walk for nothing in return

If they're competing they don't really have any choice. If they want to compete they can't trade him, and unless ownership pulls their heads out of their butts they don't have the money he'll want.

Cubs420
05-20-2010, 12:47 AM
couple things

1. Ricketts has stated on a few occasions that he wants the Cubs to mainly build through the Farm system, I have heard he wants to mirror the Red Sox organization.

2. I would love to get A-Gon ! As long as the Padres are winning he isn't going anywhere.. Hopefully we can make a strong run for him this off season, he would be a great replacement for D-Lee.

WOwolfOL
05-20-2010, 01:57 AM
I read the SI article on the Padres and how they might end up being buyers at the deadline and it's not just AGon - Heath Bell bought a home in San Diego recently also and is hoping to be with them long-term.

As far as Ricketts goes, he needs to realize that a collaborative effort is necessary and will need to put the right staff in place to get into Red Sox management pantheon.