Tom Ricketts bought the Cubs for $900 million 11 years ago. Now they are worth $3.2 billion, according to Forbes. It is hard to cricitize an owner of a team that won the 2016 World Series and reached the National League Championship Series three years in a row after winning one playoff series in the previous 106 years. But for the last two years, all we have heard is the Cubs can't afford Bryce Harper, they won't spend big on anyone, they can't even afford a pitcher who costs more than $4 million. Worse yet, there's talk — a lot of talk — that the Cubs don't want to pay to keep home-grown star Kris Byrant.
"Can't afford it" is no excuse for a team that's increased $2.3 billion in value in only 11 years. Baseball isn't the NFL, where the more you pay one player means you now have less to pay the rest. The Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cubs and Giants are the only five baseball teams worth $3 billion. Only three others (Mets, Cardinals and Phillies) are worth even $2 billion. If sports ever resume, the Cubs have no reason not to go after players they think can help them win.
NFL stands strong
Good for Roger Goodell for saying he expects the NFL season to start on time. He can always change his mind later. But people could use at least the hope of sports normalcy. That's why the NFL is also right to go ahead with the draft. Not sure pro tennis (at least for singles) and golf couldn't still take place at empty venues with no fans. Players could easily remain six feet apart at all times. Heck, 34 states are still open to recreational golf.
Give Bill a call
Bill O'Brien has five winning seasons in six years as coach of the Texans. He was smart enough to not only draft Deshaun Watson, but take him as the third quarterback drafted so he paid a fraction of what the Bears did for Mitch Trubisky. Yet he makes more laughable moves than any personnel man since Matt Millen ran the Lions (even lower) into the ground. He basically gave away Jadeveon Clowney and DeAndre Hopkins, took on David Johnson's horrible contract, gave up two first-round picks and a second-round pick for Laremy Tunsil and now just traded a second-round pick for Brandin Cooks to replace Hopkins. One question: Why aren't the Bears and Packers trying to trade with Bill O'Brien?
Matt Trowbridge: 815-987-1383; email@example.com; @matttrowbridge