Tom Ricketts

‘Obviously, we're buyers right now': Ricketts says to Cubs fans in London

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A mere 15 days ago, it appeared as if the writing was on the wall for the 2023 Chicago Cubs.

On the heels of a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels after holding a lead in all three games, the lowly Cubs dropped to 10 games below .500 and 7.5 games out of first place in the struggling NL Central.

Despite the struggling division, it appeared at that point that the Cubs were likely moving into surefire seller territory at the upcoming trade deadline. While the team has multi-year commitments to many foundational pieces, the Cubs also possess who may be the best trade chip on the market if made available in Marcus Stroman.

In the 12 games since leaving Anaheim without a win, the Cubs have gone 10-2, sweeping the division rival Pirates twice while taking two of three from perhaps baseball's brightest young team in the Baltimore Orioles.

This upstart stretch of baseball has been enough for the owner of the Cubs himself to declare that the club is fully looking to compete.

"Obviously, we're buyers right now. Things can come off the rails, but I don’t think they will. I think what we have is a core that can compete for the division and compete for the playoffs and now it’s finding the missing parts to add to it," Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said to fans in London during a brief Q&A, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Cubs have managed to leapfrog the Pirates during their hot stretch of baseball, and could perhaps be even closer than 3.5 games back if not for an 11-game winning streak from the Cincinnati Reds.

With the NL Central significantly weaker than the other two divisions in the senior circuit, the Cubs will likely be tasked with having to win the division in order to carve their way into a postseason spot.

Although 36-38 isn't a typical record of division-winners through 74 games, the Cubs could move back to .500 with a two-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend, and will have another chance to solidify their place in the division during a massive four-game set in Milwaukee against the Brewers to start July.

While it is not ultimately Ricketts' decision if the Cubs buy or sell at this year's deadline, a confident statement from the Cubs owner indicates that it is the organization's preferred action.

A decision to buy or sell certainly impacts the Cubs roster in 2023, but it will also play a role on how the Cubs construct their team beyond this year. Kyle Hendricks, Cody Bellinger and Marcus Stroman are all likely to hit the free agent market this offseason, with only options standing in the way of the three players from heading to free agency.

Fans were also emphatic in letting Ricketts know that they hoped Stroman would stay in Cubbie Blue beyond 2023, with Ricketts simply telling the fans to direct their requests to team President Jed Hoyer.

Stroman will pitch against Jack Flaherty and the Cardinals on Sunday at 9:10 a.m. local time, following Saturday's matchup between Justin Steele and Adam Wainwright at 12:10 p.m. local time.

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