1.) Tom Ricketts’ wise understanding as team owner.
2.) Pujols or Fielder?
3.) Did the Cubs really lose Maddux again?
1.) What I’m most happy about this offseason is Tom Ricketts’ willingness to allow Theo Epstein the opportunity to build the Cubs as he sees fit.
Basically, Ricketts is staying out Theo’s way, which is something we don’t see often enough from owners in pro sports be it baseball, football, basketball or hockey.
Signing checks and limiting interference on player personnel decisions appears an inglorious role, but smart ownership groups understand the importance of hiring smart people to make smart decisions for their organizations–look no further than Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wertz.
So this is a very wise move by Ricketts, who will gain plenty of notoriety, no less, as the team’s owner once the Cubs reach and win a World Series.
2.) For arguments sake, let’s assume the rumors about the Cubs pursuit of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are true.
So who would you rather have playing first base for the Cubs?
I’d be more interested in Albert Pujols for no other reason than his long standing status as the best player in baseball.
When you have the game’s best player, you have a great chance at winning a World Series, as evident by St. Louis’ two championships (three appearances) with Pujols leading the way.
There’s also no denying Pujols’ class and leadership on and off the field. He carries himself like a true professional, is a leader within the clubhouse and is arguably as valuable to an organization off the field as he is on it. If the same holds true for Fielder we haven’t heard much about it.
Production aside, neither player make long-term financial sense for the Cubs. Signing either one is a risky gamble for a team already saddled with ungodly back-loaded contracts to aging and unproductive veterans.
However, if Theo and Company are willing to shoot for the moon, I’d rather see them risk it all on the game’s best player (at least for a few more years, right?) versus one who’s not quite his equal but a few years younger.
3.) It’s simply remarkable the Cubs have lost Greg Maddux for a third time.
I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s a huge loss, given Maddux’s role as an adviser to Jim Hendry. But losing the knowledge and tutelage of one of baseball’s best pitching minds is still unfortunate.
Of course, you can’t blame Greg for leaving the organization to join his brother in Texas. But this was likely Mad Dog’s last go-round on the North Side. And losing him never gets any easier.