Cubs Plan To Spend More On Draft, Scouting In 2011

In a letter to Wrigley Field season ticket-holders, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts indicated the team will "likely" reallocate some money from the major league payroll towards scouting and player development.  The team's "overall baseball budget" of payroll, scouting and player development will be roughly the same as it was in 2010.  Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune was the first to break the news of Ricketts' announcement, while the full text of Ricketts' letter can be found here.

We'd already heard that the Cubs were looking to shed some payroll this winter, though as Sullivan notes, that could be easier said than done given the number of unwieldly contracts on the Chicago roster.  It only makes sense for the Cubs to reinvest their savings on the development of young, affordable talent given that they're committed to Alfonso Soriano through 2014 and Carlos Zambrano through at least 2012.

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10 Comments on "Cubs Plan To Spend More On Draft, Scouting In 2011"

4 years 10 months ago

If you were to construct a 25-man roster of bad contracts, I’m thinking that the Cubs could easily lock down 5 spots with Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Silva (Milton Bradley’s surrogate), Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Zambrano. It’s simply not good when 1/30 of MLB teams owns 1/5 of the league’s worst contracts. How exactly is Jim Hendry still gainfully employed? He must be an extremely likeable fellow, to say the least.

4 years 10 months ago

Fratboys don’t study sabremetrics

4 years 10 months ago

If you recall, Aramis Ramirez signed for a bit less to stay with the Cubs than he could have gotten on the open market. He’s a good player too, I’d hesitate to call his contract bad. His first half this year was ruined by injury and he raked in the second half.

4 years 10 months ago

Good news, good news. I can’t believe it’s taken them this long to realize that building an organization with a strong base is the way to go instead of acquiring talent the most expensive way possible through free agency.

4 years 10 months ago

Sure is, but bad news for Cubs is only 1 year left for the “have” teams to take advantage of the draft and if the Cubs don’t already have a large scouting department built up, they are not going to able to fully utilize the resources they have and knock down 23-25 other clubs that do not take full advantage of the wealth of talent the draft can bring, when drafting the toolsy/hard sign players from more remote schools in some cases, to giving out 7 figure bonuses to mid/late round draftees passed over due to signability concerns.

I hope they do begin to send in the area of 10m or so to the draft, just think..1 fringe veteran FA per season and you fund a draft class, or one possible helpful veteran FA at 50M and you fund 5 years if no significant changes made in the Rule4 draft. It is smart business sense to use the draft and it works well if the Cubs can get a good scouting director with scouts in all the areas, possibly expand to Asian markets also where as of now, the Mariners, A’s and Sox seem to have large webs intact.

4 years 10 months ago

I can’t speak to the entirety of their scouting operating, but I can say that Tim Wilken is the scouting director and he’s one of the best in the business. He has only been in the organization since 2006, however, which means that most of his picks are only on the verge of being possible call-ups.Josh Vitters, Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson, Jay Jackson are all his picks — you’ve probably heard of them. Starlin Castro and Hak-Ju Lee were signed on his watch. He also picked Logan Watkins, Chris Carpenter (no, not THAT one), Ryan Flaherty, and D.J. LeMahieu. Why do I bring those guys up? Because all of these guys, taken together, compose the Cubs’ Top 10 prospects list (as listed by Baseball America before the 2010 season). And oh yeah, that Tyler Colvin guy was his as well.Some of these guys are obviously better than others, but it would be fair to say that whatever value the Cubs farm system has is due to Tim Wilken. Despite only being here for four years, he owns all ten spots.

4 years 10 months ago

Not knocking on the system itself, just that the Cubs would be better off 9as would all that can afford it)to start to spend more on the Rule4 draft, Asian market International FA’s and the like as do the teams I mentioned above. Sure the Cubs have some decent prospects, but hiring more talent evaluators, more scouts and developing an over seas staff is another inexpensive way to build a team without spending massive amounts on FA’s, many of which are well past their primes before the contracts expire and are nothing but a financial burden.

The Cubs are seeing that part now, the NYY see it constantly, but have the financial power to eat most of them.

For the Cubs to draft just 3-4 signability people each year that are tough signs, given teams extremely high dollar amounts before the draft, it never hurts to use a 5-20th round pick on some of them, other teams do it and it works well *IF* a team is willing to spend money beyond the 1st 3 rounds.

4 years 10 months ago

Couple of nasty contracts

Zambrano- 5 years/ 91.5 Mil
Soriano- 8 years/ 136 Mil
Fukudome- 4/48
Grabow- 2/7.5
Milton Bradley (got out of it w/ Silva)- 3/30
(Silva- 4/48)

4 years 10 months ago

hindsight has blessed us with 20/20..but still looking and zambrano and soriano’s contract makes me laugh.

4 years 10 months ago

Ramirez’s deal would be a plus for the Cubs, if it weren’t for the fact that he’s been hurt. What I don’t understand about this is that Wrigley’s ticket prices aren’t low. They sold more than 3 million tickets, once again. The back half of the season saw multiple money-dumping deals. The Lilly deal included Theriot and cash, but that cash canceled out Theriot’s remaining money, so Lilly was still a salary dump, equal to about 4 or 5 million saved, as I recall, I may be wrong, but it’s close. Lee’s deal was similar, netting the Cubs at least 3 or 4 million saved. Let’s go conservative and say that saved 7 million. Combine that with the 26 million coming off the books because Lee and Lilly aren’t on the budget next year, and that’s 33 million dollars that should be in play, right?

Sure, there will be some rises in arbitration, but there will also be some non-tenders. How low will the payroll be? I understand wanting to build the organization, and I applaud that, but in my mind, that starts with getting the right people at the top of the organization. You know, like the GM.

I just don’t see how the Cubs, who had to profit this year, by a wide margin, find themselves needing to trim payroll to pay for improvements to other parts of the organization, especially when there were moves down the stretch to save money. I’m all for trading away bad contracts, if possible, even if it means eating parts of the deal. But how do you start, in October, basically writing off your team for next year after selling 3 million tickets? And, wait for it, not having won in more than 100 years? Obviously I can’t see all the numbers, but from what I can see ($33 million saved for next year’s payroll) I want to get some players in that can help win. If not next year, then the year after. If Hendry can’t do that without overpaying now, why would he be able to do it without overpaying in the future? And if he’s not a capable executive, why is he in charge of the “rebuilding” plan?

I hate it all.