Good news: the Ricketts’ shameless campaign to get the State of Illinois to pay for renovations to Wrigley Field is dead in the water:
The Cubs’ plan to use 35 years’ worth of amusement-tax growth to finance a $200 million renovation of Wrigley Field — and back-stop the bonds with a 2 percent hotel tax — is dead, sources said Wednesday.
The setback for a plan the Cubs had hoped to ram through the state Legislature’s fall veto session has sent team officials back to the drawing board to search for alternatives that might include creating a tax-increment-financing (TIF) district around Wrigley.
Of course this doesn’t mean its over, as most of the linked article is spent discussing alternative ways the Cubs could get either the city or the state to pay for the upkeep to their building that they themselves should be paying. It’s all fairly non-critical too which is regrettable. I’m not saying that the news story should be an editorial against public financing of ballparks, but you’d think there would be at least one quote from a person who thinks it’s bad government to have taxpayers underwriting an anti-tax zealot billionaire’s vanity investment. And yes, such people do exist. If they didn’t the legislature wouldn’t be killing the current plan.
The Orioles have re-signed infielder Pedro Alvarez to a minor league deal, per a report from Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. The deal guarantees Alvarez $1 million if he makes the 40-man roster and another $2 million in potential performance bonuses. The team has yet to confirm the deal.
This will be Alvarez’s third year with the Orioles. After posting decent numbers in 2016, the 31-year-old was relegated to the minors for the majority of the 2017 season and saw only 14 games at the big league level. He finished the year with an underwhelming .239/.294/.442 batting line and 26 home runs through 595 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk.
Alvarez is expected to split his time between first base and DH this spring, and MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli notes that he’s unlikely to experiment with another outfield role. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the majors, the veteran infielder will function purely as insurance for first baseman Chris Davis and designated hitter Mark Trumbo and will likely begin the season in the minors.