1/18 Cubs Convention notes

* According to Nikkan Sports, five teams made formal offers to Masahiro Tanaka, including the Cubs and White Sox. Also submitting bids were the Yankees, Dodgers and Diamondbacks. All of the bids were believed to be more than $100 million and over six years. Fans at the Cubs Convention asked Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer on Saturday for an update on talks with the Japanese pitcher, and Hoyer said they would not comment on negotiations. The Cubs did have a contingent meet with Tanaka and his representatives in Los Angeles, where they explained the vision of the team.

“There are lots of teams out there who have interest,” Epstein said. “We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”

Next Friday is the deadline for Tanaka to decide.

* The Cubs feel they can complete the Wrigley Field renovation plan in four offseasons, not five. However, the plans are still on hold until the Cubs receive assurances from the owners of the rooftops around the ballpark that they will not sue. The Cubs hope to begin this year. Crane Kenney, president of business operations, said the team had two meetings last week with most of the rooftop owners and the city of Chicago.

“There’s a lot of urgency to get this moving,” Kenney said.

Kenney said he did not regret the way the contract was set up with the rooftop owners, in which they give a percentage of their earnings to the team.

“You have to go back to the landmarking — that’s what I regret,” Kenney said. “This situation was created by the landmarking of the bleachers. We fought it to the end and we lost.”

He said the landmark status meant they could not put any signs in the outfield ever. What changed this summer was that the landmarking was amended. Now, the landmark commission recognizes that the outfield is not a historic feature and the team can add signage.

“That was the big win last summer, among many, and that’s what the rooftops would contest,” Kenney said. “Essentially their contest is, can you un-landmark a building. We think you can, and in fact, the city council did this summer. That’s what we want to make sure doesn’t delay the project.”

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said he expects the video scoreboard to be ready for the 2015 season.

Kenney said to complete the renovation project in four years will require more money but they will do some things more efficiently.

* The Cubs’ deals with WGN Radio and WGN TV both end after this season. Expect an announcement regarding the radio deal prior to Opening Day.

* Epstein said the team made a mistake in promoting Brett Jackson to the big leagues when the Cubs did. Jackson was called up because Dale Sveum wanted to prioritize his swing development, but Epstein said the outfielder may have been better served staying in the Minor Leagues. Epstein said they promoted Josh Vitters at the same time because they wanted to learn more about him as a player. Both will be in Spring Training camp.

* All of the position players who participated in the rookie development camp this past week are expected to be invited to big league Spring Training. Some of the starting pitchers may not be, but that’s because the Cubs want to make sure they get enough innings.

* During the seminar with the rookie development players, a fan asked how they would be different from other highly touted prospects who didn’t have success such as Corey Patterson and Felix Pie. Albert Almora’s response?

“The way we’ve been going, it’s like a family,” Almora said. “Maybe they didn’t have that back then is that family feeling.”

* The Cubs feel they have more flexibility in the bullpen with the addition of another lefty in Wesley Wright. Jose Veras will be the closer, Rick Renteria said.

* The Cubs’ new mascot was questioned by some fans but the team said Clark is here to stay.

– Carrie Muskat

11 Comments

Well the best news out of all this is that “Clark” is here to stay! :))

That’s good for the children who visit Wrigley Field White, maybe good for the adults who think the Cubs will compete this year or those still in fantasy land. There are still some of us who say, if Clark is needed great, but for me its about the Cubs.
Out of the above article, if Clark is all you have to comment on, maybe you should read it again?

I am perfectly able to read the article just once and KNOW WHAT IT SAID! Clark IS a CUB and is here to stay and THAT is exactly what I liked about the entire article!

This may not fit with this line of comments, but I am going to make a statement regarding the treatment of Cub fans. I’m 47 years old. I have lived in Western and Central Illinois since I was 3 years old, and I have been a Cub fan since I knew what baseball was. Now the Cubs pull their team from Peoria, and make no trip for the caravan. I know they did some nice things in the community, but why not do some of that for their fans in the tornado decimated community of Washington IL. Quite frankly, it feels like the Cubs have abandoned us, and don’t give a flying fart about it.

Aloha Mat B-
I cannot speak for the organization but I know that our hearts and prayers go out to you folks in Washington and Peoria. We have some family south-east of you in Central, IL and they have been trying to help where they can. For that to happen just before Thanksgiving is just difficult. I remember when I spent some time there in Central, IL how my grandfather on that side from Chicago said to me that Chicago is a strange place because they think that anybody outside of Tinley Park or Joliet is in the “South.” I wondered what that meant, it was not so much said in a derogatory manner but rather folks in Chicago cared-paid attention to mainly Chicago. I think that can be said of many of these larger cities. It is not required of the Cubs but I would hope that for example because they had an affiliate team in your area (still cannot believe the Chiefs are no longer with the Cubs) and G. Maddux was a Chief that some gesture could be made. The thing that I loved about our “lovable-losers” is even if we did not get to the WS it felt like we the fans were connected to the team and vice-versa. I hope with all the work that is being done to change this organization in such a drastic way, that they do not lose this aspect of it because this is what makes the Cubs so unique compared with the other teams. Again, God speed to you folks in that area. Mahalo & Gunbatene!

I just hope that they stay with WGN…from this whole article, that’s my biggest worry :/

Amen to that Isabel! I hope so too! By the way, were you able to go to the Convention this year? If so I would love to hear your take on it! Have a good snowy day back there! :))

I did not go this year! :/ I was so sad but we didn’t have the money this year, hopefully next time! I was bummed that I could go see Lee! haha

Isabel, would you rather they stay with WGN if they receive another offer worth much more? The Phillies just signed a huge TV deal.
Now the Phillies can use that money to invest in their Organization. Or would you just take whatever WGN offers, so the Cubs stick with WGN?
Just my opinion, but I take the best offer. Its a business, if WGN makes the best offer, great.
If someone else makes a better offer, take it. My way of thinking is, it really dont matter as long as I get to watch the Cubs on TV.

Aloha Isabel- I know from a nostalgic point of view, it is nice to be with WGN I can actually get it out here in the West. But if the Cubs do something foolishly and spend a ton of money for example on a long term contract with Tanaka or anyone else for that matter, like Jasper said, they may need to get a large TV contract in order to pay for things like players contracts or improvements to various facilities. I do not think our Cubs should get wrapped up in a bidding process on an unknown (in regard to pitching here in the States) and tie up so much resources in one player, when they are trying to restructure the organization from the ground up. That may mean a TV contract too but I hope for the right reasons, not because of what I mentioned above, foolish spending and now we need more funds to pay for the bad purchases. It will be interesting how this all plays out in the next few days and into the new season. “Gunbatene,” Cubbies!

I get you Japer, I would too. And you’re right it is a business, I’m just hoping that if they do make a deal it is with a network that you can see from everywhere, or hear on the radio everywhere.

And yes k.g. you’re right, it’ll be a VERY interesting Cubs season this year!

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