Chicago Cubs Convention 2016
Cubs Baseball Management and Business Operations Presentations
The Cubs baseball management panel presentation was informative and at times funny with a few of the questions asked by fans. The panel consisted of Len Kasper, Cubs announcer as moderator, President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein,
General Manager, Jed Hoyer & Assistant GM, Shiraz Rehman.
Jed Hoyer seemed to downplay expectations both of the 2016 team and the team's success in 2015 by indicating that the Cubs run differential for the 2015 season doesn't project to the 97 wins that the team got.
Jed Hoyer also seemed to indicate the chances of the Cubs bringing free agent outfielder, Dexter Fowler back are slim by not wanting to comment on any discussions and thanking Fowler for his contributions to the 2015 Cubs.
Theo Epstein was very pleased with the Cubs offseason acquisitions that included Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist & John Lackey. Heyward fits into the Cubs desire to build a young team as he is the same age (26) as Anthony Rizzo, in fact Heyward is one day younger than Rizzo (both will turn 27 in early August). Lackey has been a big game pitcher that both Jed and Theo know
well after signing him to play for the Red Sox years ago. Ben Zobrist brings a great contact hitter that a Cubs team that strikes out a lot badly need. And the Cubs took 2 players away from the NL Central division rival Cardinals (Heyward & Lackey).
It's always interesting to hear Cubs fans ask questions and an older lady who said she has been a "Bleacher Bum" for many years and was critical of Theo trading players so often that the fans don't get a chance to talk to and get to know the Cubs outfielders. She mentioned one player being traded to the "South Side". Those of us at the event were a little confused about who this might
be and we speculated that she meant Jeff Samardzija, a pitcher for the Cubs who did play for the White Sox last year, however he was traded by the Cubs to the Oakland A's in 2014 and was than traded from the A's to the White Sox.
the Cubs Business operations panel probably made the biggest news at this year's convention. A few things were announced as lead stories in the local Chicago news the night of the convention. Crane Kenney began the panel with what appeared to be a prepared speech with no one else on stage until the Cubs fans Q&A began and other Cubs executives joined him to answer questions. The first piece of big news was that metal detectors will be used at Wrigley Field for the first time in 2016. Also, Major League Baseball has a rule that all MLB stadiums should have a 100 foot perimeter blocked off during games as a security measure. With the Cubs neighborhood park, crossroads Clark and Addison are within this 100 foot distance. The Cubs have asked the City of Chicago
to close down these roads during games, but thus far have not yet gotten approval to do so. This is likely to be an ongoing story through the season and possibly beyond.
The construction plans at Wrigley Field continue through the offseason with the big change being the new Cubs clubhouse. The Cubs have had very poor facilities in the past, however after this construction, it will be one of the more modern facilities in all of MLB. The visitor's clubhouse will not be upgraded in 2016.
A new Sheraton hotel will be completed in 2016 and a plaza for concerts, movies with video boards will be constructed as well. The plan for the plaza is that it will be available for events in 2016, but not fully completed until opening day in 2017.