What–No Bill Wirtz?

An incomplete, almost entirely speculative list of people identified by various sources as possible purchasers of the Chicago National League Ball Club: Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks Owner Donald Levin, Chicago Wolves Owner Jerry Colangelo, Phoenix Suns Chairman Pat Ryan, Founder and Executive Chairman of Aon Corporation Bill Murray, Actor George Will, Journalist Tom Begel, Chicago businessman William Marovitz, former Illinois state senator Larry Levy, restaurateur Bruce Rauner, Chicago private-equity investor Crain’s Chicago Business quotes Marc Ganis, a Chicago-based sports industry consultant as saying, “(The price for the Cubs) will go north of $800 million, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went for more than $1 billion.” Crain’s continues, “Mr. Ganis predicts the eventual buyer will be a private-equity firm that will stay under the radar until a deal is announced. He says he’s fielded inquiries from two such firms.”


It would be fun if whoever were to buy them takes them public. I wonder what MLB would think about that.

There are a few names on that list that I don't believe could come up with $800 million, let alone something higher than a billion.

Wes, you don't need 800 mil to buy the team. You probably just need a fraction of that to finance it. That's my guess.

Having said that, I want Colangelo. They guy owned the D'backs and built a winner. He bought the Suns, and put together one of the best teams in the league.

I thought Abe Froeman was ponying up some cash to buy the Cubs.

Yeah I know, Chad. Guess I made myself look dumb with the way I worded that. But my point remains the same. I don't think Murray or Will could pony up for it.

I'd also like Colangelo. Guy knows what he's doing.

Also, the Cubs spin machine disagrees with Bruce Levine's report that the sale stalled the Z talks:

"Contract talks between the team and the right-hander are ongoing, and the pending sale of the Cubs by the Tribune Co., announced hours before the game, has nothing to do with his potential new deal."


I have to agree with the Cubs on this I dont think it has much of an effect because it had been known that the Trib directors were meeting this weekend to review takeover bids. My guess on the new ownership would be a combo of Cuban and some low profile personality guy to act as a figurehead of sorts probably Levin or Begel.

I take everything the Trib says about the Cubs with a half-ton of salt, but I certainly HOPE you guys are right that this doesn't affect the Z talks (though the article makes clear that the talks are "on hold," so obviously there's SOME effect.

Seriously--if you're the TribCo at this moment in time, consider:
1. Z at 16M per year is likely to be an outstanding bargain in today's market.
2. The new buyer's only on the hook for Z's contract for 4 years anyway.
3. What--they don't think the new buyer's going to be scared away by having to pay $7M a year for 2 years to Jason Marquis, 4M+ a year for 3 years to Mark DeRosa, or $17M a year for 7 years to Alfonso Soriano? Why the hell would a multiyear deal to *Zambrano,* of all players, be the straw that broke the camel's back?
4. The franchise is a feckin' cash cow to begin with; if the anticipated sale price is between $800MM and $1BB, as reported, there's no way in hell an additional $64MM owed over 4 years for one of the best pitchers in baseball is going to deter a potential buyer.
5. Last, and most importantly--THE VALUE OF A FRANCHISE IS ONLY *ENHANCED*, NOT DEGRADED, BY STAR ATTRACTIONS, ESPECIALLY THOSE AS GOOD (AND ENTERTAINING) AS CARLOS ZAMBRANO. You think the likelihood of fetching a high sale price for the team's going to be ENHANCED by the possibility of Ted Frickin' Lilly being the team's ace starter. (I note that other than Z, next year's potential FA pitching crop looks awfully weak.)

"[Y]ou don’t need 800 mil to buy the team. You probably just need a fraction of that to finance it. That’s my guess."

Doesn't MLB have a cap on how much debt a team can take on?

What–No Bill Wirtz?

i ask myself the same question when i scan the sunday obituary page.

No Steve Stone?


Attention all TCR Readers:

Start selling your assets now. We can come up with an LLC and pour all of the liquidated money into it. Then, we'll buy the Cubs.

That would really drive home the point of the power of the internets.

Re: #10...

That belongs in our Readers' Comments Hall of Fame...as soon as we get it built.

The Cubs have a yearly attendance of around 3 million.

Assuming that 3 million Cubs fans get together (surely there's a whole lot more of us than 3M right?), then $800M divided by 3M fans comes out to $267 for each fan!

I think if we organize this right, then the Cubs fans can own this team!

Today's Tribune contains more names of possible bidders, including Andy McKenna (?!). Also, this comment from Jerry Reinsdorf re: Mark Cuban:

"It is a matter of public record that when Cuban was approved to buy the Dallas Mavericks, the vote was 29-1," said Reinsdorf, who is also the Bulls chairman.

not knowing a lot about Colangelo, i post this thought.

Yes he built a winner in the DBacks. didn't he also build a financial mess? I thought he was the one that created deferred salaries and such.

If thats right I say no thanks. Maybe it was a Phoenix market thing tho.

I'd personally love Cuban. He came into Dallas and built a winner. He puts together good management and holds them responsible for running the team well. He isn't afraid at all to make changes. He's great in that he is passionate about the sport without getting in the way. (cough Jerry Jones)

I'd really like to see Cuban purchase the team. Could you imagine him behind the plate yelling at the umpires after bad calls? David Stern can't handle him in the NBA, can you imagine what Bud Selig would do?

Private equity firm is a non starter. MLB would NEVER approve that and I am not sure they would even qualify as a single majority owner as required I don't see MLB approving Cuban either. They don't care. They turned town several higher bids for the Nationals from people they didn't want.

they did the same with Boston I believe too....

I believe Selig said they prefer someone with local interests and there should be plenty of that, so Cuban or Trump are very, very unlikely.

Colangelo wouldn't surprise me though...

Mark Cuban is a lifelong Pirates Fan and not a Chicagoan.

He is the last person WE want to own the Cubs.


Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.

  • Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.

    Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.

  • Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.

    Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.

  • that game sounds fun as hell.

  • I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.