Recent Cubs News Steeped in Mystery

I doubt they’re the types of cases Hercule Poirot would investigate, but there is a level of mystery and intrigue surrounding some recent Cubs-related events. Of course, if the Cubs themselves were responsible for hiring a sleuth, we’d be more likely to see Scooby Doo and Mystery, Inc snooping around Wrigley.

It should come as no surprise that money lies at the root of each of these cases.

How is Ernie Banks’ estate worth only $16,000?

That’s the question both Mr. Cub’s sons and wife are trying to answer after a lawyer for the late Hall of Famer’s caregiver announced that paltry sum the other day. While Banks never earned more than $75,000 in any season of his great career, one has to think that his likeness and memorabilia alone would net more than $16,000.

I only hope this matter is sorted out quickly, as it’s just such a sad and trivial final chapter to a life that deserved better.

Who are the new Cubs owners?

Thanks to a Twitter announcement, we know that Andrew Berlin is one of six new minority investors who have bought into the Rickett’s family’s holding company. But other than the South Bend Cubs owner, the other buyers are as yet unknown. Patrick Mooney reports that the stakes are too small to provide any sort of control or even a seat on the team’s board.

Forbes has said that the Cubs are worth around $1.2 billion, though one must assume that the team is using a much more aggressive valuation in the sale of these shares. Given the upward trend of the on-field talent, the progressing renovations, and a potential broadcast partnership, the future is bright.

But who are these new silent partners and how much of the $575 million Wrigley facelift will they be financing?

Is there any way for Kris Bryant to break camp with the Cubs?

This one’s a bit different from the first two in that it’s theoretical. My short answer is no. Unless the Cubs develop a way to look into the future to see the results of a 2015 in which Bryant plays the whole season vs. one in which he misses only April.

Unless the result of a full season of Bryant is a playoff berth and World Series win instead of watching the postseason from various warm-weather vacation spots, he’s going to spend some time in Des Moines. Good for Iowans and the Cubs future, bad for those who can’t fathom the economics of baseball’s CBA.

So absent an aggressively optimistic crystal ball or a complete change in strategy by the front office, you will just have to stomach trading one month of Kris Bryant for one year of him. Then again, maybe he’ll hit 15 homers in Mesa and fans will force Epstoyer’s hand.

I can hear the presser now: “Our plot to leverage the rules that the player’s union agreed to to create the most consistently-competitive team possible over the next several years has been foiled. And we would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”

Of course, the most important mystery of all is where the Cubs will finish. The projections all seem pretty bullish, and the new additions have served to make the team better on paper, but a lot can happen over the course of 162 games.

One thing’s for sure though: it’ll be a hell of a lot more fun to watch the Cubs solve the puzzle this year.

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