‘Death Of Free Agency’ Could Hamper Cubs’ Rebuilding Plans

My Saturday, April 20, column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) A World Series championship is coming to Wrigley Field.

At least so says Tom Ricketts, now that the Cubs owner has been given the preliminary go-ahead by the city to invest $500 million into the franchise’s iconic 99-year-old ballpark and its surrounding neighborhood.

“If this is approved, we will win the World Series,” Rickets vowed on Monday, referring to the agreement to overhaul and modernize the Wrigley Field, although the tentative plan still needs to pass through a number of Chicago landmark and planning commission hoops before it’s approved.

Considering that the Cubs are footing the bill without taxpayer money, it’s likely that it will be. And with the deal, Ricketts says that the updates made to Wrigley Field will generate new revenue streams and elevate the Cubs into the Major League’s upper crust of payroll spending year after year.

If it happens, that’s great. But it doesn’t also mean that winning will be simple. Not with the Cubs’ dearth of top-line pitching coupled with the changing face of free agency, which will make it all the more difficult for the Cubs to acquire top-line pitching.

No matter how much cash they might have.

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