(Hendry (left) promises Lou plenty of resources)
Quiet night in the NL tonight, so I’m posting the following from Mike Downey of the Chi Trib via the SJ Mercury News. In story after story, Lou Piniella has made clear that a big reason, if not the main reason, he signed with the Cubs is that they have the resources to back him in signing talent. Promises of expanding the payroll up to 20% have been made, but anyone who reads the business pages knows the Tribco is on financially thin ice due to debt, fraud, and internal demands to divest assets — including the Cubs. In Downey’s list of five major misperceptions about the Cubs, this one rings true:
2. “Tribune Co. is willing to spend.”
Whatever it takes? Really? Even with a corporate fiscal climate in turmoil? Even with itchy stockholders and company-wide cutbacks?
On top of $10 million to a man to manage a last-place team, Tribune Co. is going to pile an extra $20 million onto the Cubs’ payroll? It is going to outspend the Florida Marlins by $100 million a year? It is going to pony up $115 million or more to buy a World Series championship after watching the New York Yankees fail in this endeavor while spending nearly twice that?
Logically, short of putting the club up for sale, what Tribune Co. ought to be doing is slashing payroll. If next season Piniella does not deliver us to Valhalla, it would behoove the Cubs to conclude: “We can lose just as easily with a low-pay team as with a high-pay one.” Save a fortune, dump those gaudy salaries and give the rookies a shot.