Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts admitted on Monday morning the team was at least keeping an eye on Major League Baseball’s luxury tax when it came to making roster moves over the winter. At the same time, the team’s owner claimed it was hardly a defining factor in how the franchise chose to go about the offseason.
Ricketts appeared in front of the media as part of the kickoff of the Cubs’ Spring Training. Answering a wide range of questions, the majority centered around Chicago’s spending — or lack thereof — both this past winter and the one prior. Cubs beat writer Jordan Bastion posted the video of Ricketts explaining the team’s financial approach on Twitter. The billionaire also tried to stress it’s not about how much a club spends, but how it spends it.
“Just because you spend a lot of money, you’re going to win it…I think secondly, this has been in the media a bit too and some of the guys have referenced it. I mean there are some sanctions and punishments you get from the league for going over the competitive balance tax. And those aren’t defining the decisions from the front office but they’re always a consideration.”
Ricketts then went on to talk about the team’s strategy, saying the focus is always to win the World Series, but cautioned that spending won’t necessarily get them there. He added the bigger goal is to find a way to build a team that can win year in and year out.
The Chicago Cubs owner was also asked whether or not he was disappointed about the front office not making any big trades. Unsurprisingly, he said he wasn’t disappointed at all because he felt the team they were going to put on the field was going to be good enough. He also touched the fact that “one-for-one” trades are hard to come by in this day and age.
Ricketts, on the team’s spending... pic.twitter.com/7ytZm5xnLi— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 17, 2020
One topic he seemed to avoid including in that answer was the ability to go out and sign a new player as a free agent. Despite the question referencing big additions at all, his answer focused entirely on what could have been done through trade.
Ricketts, asked if he was disappointed not to have done more over the offseason... pic.twitter.com/kcuuRevtWu— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 17, 2020
Ricketts’ comments come just a few days after one of his own players made some statements that were perceived as a bit negative regarding the Cubs’ front office approach. When Kris Bryant was asked if the team was “trying to win” in 2020, he took a long pause and then pointed out the team “didn’t do much” over the offseason.