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Ricketts: Everything’s on the table for open GM position

Tom Ricketts

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts plans on talking to a range of candidates for the team’s general-manager position, but in a Fox Business Network interview he didn’t commit to any specific names floating around out there, including Boston’s Theo Epstein.

In an interview with Neil Cavuto, Ricketts sidestepped any talks of specific candidates for the Cubs’ GM position, generally considered one of the best jobs in the game. Particularly at this time: with the team on the decline the past two seasons both on the field and the box office, the new GM will start from a low point in the franchise’s storied history and have lots of upside, as well as resources to invest in the team. With a free-agent class that includes high-profile stars like Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols — as well as underrated character guys like Michael Cuddyer — it’s a good year to be in Chicago with some dollars available. Just ask Billy Beane, Mark Shapiro and Andrew Friedman.

With free agency looming upon completion of the World Series, you’d think Ricketts would be eager to get the GM ball rolling. But he didn’t sound like a man in a hurry.  When asked directly about Epstein, Ricketts demurred a direct comment: “I don’t know; there’s a lot of good candidates out there,” he said. “We’re going to talk to a handful of them and I’m sure we’ll come up with the right fit for the team. Ultimately it will be the decision of myself and my family.

“Obviously we didn’t get it done on the field this year. It was a disappointing season for everyone, but, we’re going to get some new leadership.”

You can see the whole interview here.

An issue in baseball: competitive balance. This was a pretty good year for low-revenue teams, as we saw yesterday in our analysis of the 2011 winners and losers in Major League Baseball. But the Cubs were one of the most inefficient teams when it came to spending a large payroll, so some dramatic change is needed. And Ricketts also pointed out something that’s very true: in general, it’s easier for a high-revenue team to compete on a yearly basis; low-revenue teams need to run a cycle of boom and bust in rebuilding stages.

“Traditionally, teams that have a little bit more financial resources may be more consistent at getting to the playoffs but once you’re there anything can happen and there’s a good mix this year,” he said.

Image courtesy of Fox Business Network.


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