Cubs’ Tom Ricketts: Most MLB Owners Don’t Take Money out of Their Team

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 19: Owner Tom Ricketts of the Chicago Cubs is seen on the field before the Cubs take on the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on September 19, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts disputed that Major League Baseball owners rake in exorbitant amounts of cash from their respective clubs’ annual revenue to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers on Tuesday:

“Most baseball owners don’t take money out of their team. They raise all the revenue they can from tickets and media rights, and they take out their expenses, and they give all the money left to their GM to spend.

“The league itself does not make a lot of cash. I think there is a perception that we hoard cash and we take money out and it’s all sitting in a pile we’ve collected over the years. Well, it isn’t. Because no one anticipated a pandemic. No one expects to have to draw down on the reserves from the past. Every team has to figure out a way to plug the hole.”

Last week, prolific player agent Scott Boras advised his clients against agreeing to “further pay cuts to bail out the owners” during ongoing negotiations between the league and the MLB Players Association to finalize a return to play plan.

Ricketts addressed Boras’ comments:

“(Boras) doesn’t have any insight into our balance sheet, and as we have been investing in the ballpark, we’ve been spending more on the field. We’ve been one of the top spenders in the league while we were fixing up Wrigley Field. We don’t take money out of the team. Most owners don’t. We’re investing in the future of the club and the current team on the field.”

MLB made $10.3 billion in gross revenue in 2018 and $10.7 billion last season to extend the league’s streak of record financial growth to 17 years, per ForbesMaury Brown.

The 2020 season was originally scheduled to begin with a March 26 Opening Day, but it was indefinitely delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest developments point toward a shortened season with players receiving full prorated salaries, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Monday:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Major League Baseball intends to propose a shorter season in which they would pay players a full prorated share of their salaries, sources told ESPN. The league believes the late March agreement allows it to set the schedule, and that this would fulfill players’ pro rata desire.

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

An important clarification to this news: MLB will continue discussing alternatives to the shorter season with players but believes that its March agreement with players allows it to mandate a shorter season and is prepared to use that option in the absence of a deal with MLBPA.

The Cubs cut 30 players in their minor league system last week and have committed to paying $400 weekly stipends to rostered minor leaguers through June, per NBC Sports Chicago’s Maddie Lee.