Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts excited about renovations, prospects
BY SETH GRUEN Staff Reporter July 11, 2014 11:10PM
Arismendy Alcantara (left) celebrates with Justin Ruggiano after Ruggiano’s walk-off single scored Alcantara. | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
Updated: August 13, 2014 6:16AM
For the past several seasons, the Cubs have sold what appears to be a bright future, asking fans to give the organization patience in return.
On Friday, it seemed as if the future was as close as it has ever been.
A day after gaining unanimous approval from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to move forward with renovating Wrigley Field, chairman Tom Ricketts addressed the media on the organization’s baseball operations and construction plans.
This came before highly touted prospect Arismendy Alcantara scored the winning run on a single by Justin Ruggiano in the ninth inning of a 5-4 victory over the Braves at Wrigley Field.
“Obviously, it was very important for us to get those approvals to move forward, and we’re excited to really begin the renovation process as opposed to the political process,” said Ricketts, who didn’t have a timetable for the renovation.
“It’s been a long process. We’re just glad that it’s behind us, and I’m not worried about anything that happened in the past. We’re just going to go forward, and we’re looking forward to moving forward.”
As for the on-field product, Ricketts needed to look down in the minors to point the arrow up.
Alcantara, the speedy second baseman who has worked in center field during batting practice, hit a two-out single, stole second and scored on Ruggiano’s hit.
He’s the first of the organization’s top prospects to arrive in Chicago. In 13 major-league at-bats, he is hitting .385 with three runs scored. Manager Rick Renteria said after the game that Alcantara has “a lot of poise to him right now.”
“There’s no one in this organization that isn’t excited,” Ricketts said. “The fact is that you can’t look at our future and not be just thrilled. Obviously, we have top prospects across the board. A lot of the guys that we were hoping would step up this year and continue their development have. I think you can’t be anything but excited for our future.”
Of course, it’s difficult for prospects to develop without seasoned veterans around them in the lineup. And it’s harder to win championships without proven players who command bigger contracts.
Ricketts also didn’t have a timetable for when that money might be spent, deferring to his baseball men to make that decision and on whom to spend it.
“You guys know how it works,” he said. “Basically, we pay our expenses, and we give everything over to the baseball side. If they decide to spend it, they can. If they don’t, they can keep it for the future. I think we’re all in sync there. I think we’re OK there.
“I’ll leave that up to [baseball president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer], but we’ll support them every way we can.”
NOTE: Emilio Bonifacio began his rehab stint Friday in Mesa, Arizona. He was put on the disabled list June 13 with a strained right oblique.