In a piece that might only get Ben Schwartz’ hopes up, the Daily Herald’s Mike Comerford examines the possiblity of the Chicago Cubs being sold.

With its stock losing a quarter of its worth in the last year, Tribune Co. may be considering a sale of non-core assets such as the Cubs.

That™s the speculation from one of the Tribune™s top-five investors, Chicago-based investment firm Ariel Capital Management.

œIf their stock gets into the $20s, I think their management would have to look to sell non-strategic assets, including the Cubs, said John Miller, senior vice president of portfolio management at Ariel, whose firm holds 10 million shares of Tribune stock.

Its stock settled up 46 cents on Monday at $31.37. Its 52-week high is $44.32.

Non-core Tribune assets include the Food Network, WB Network, and the Cubs, with an estimated value of $2 billion. Core assets would include broadcast stations such as WGN-TV and newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

But with a value of $400 million to $550 million, a Cubs sale alone wouldn™t be much of a boost to a corporation with $5.7 billion in sales last year. Some analysts interviewed called the Cubs sale a rumor and declined to speculate on the likelihood.

Because Tribune has long been a controversial owner of the Cubs, a sale might be good for the team, said Alan Sanderson, University of Chicago sports economist.

œYou probably don™t want a Chinese oil company to buy them, but other than that I don™t see the downside, Sanderson said.