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Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts: Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer Executed Plan A

(CBS) Make no mistake about it: This offseason has gone according to plan for the Cubs' brain trust of president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.

After the signings of outfielder Jason Heyward, second baseman/utilityman Ben Zobrist and right-hander John Lackey, the Cubs have addressed a handful of what they viewed as their most pressing needs. And they did it in the manner they were most comfortable with -- committing the big money to a position player ($184 million over eight years to Heyward) and getting a starting pitcher they like on a shorter-term deal (Lackey signed for two years and $32 million).

"Right after the season, Theo and Jed and all the guys, they have a lot of different scenarios," Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said on the Mully and Hanley Show on Monday morning. "I think they would probably call this their A plan because I think it's what they wanted to do more than anything.

"They were aggressive, and they wanted to make sure they could execute in what they thought were our best interests for next season. And they went ahead and did it."

Between those three players, the Cubs have committed $272 million to future payroll. So, do they have any moves left in them this offseason?

"I don't tell them to stop or go," Ricketts said. "I let those guys decide what they think is the best lineup to bring in to spring training. And you guys know Theo, he never really stops. There's always conversations, there's always things that are going on. But as opposed to maybe a week ago or two weeks ago, they would say that if spring training was to begin today, they'd be pretty positive."

Ricketts also addressed a handful of other topics.

--- Ricketts hasn't yet sat down this offseason to discuss a contract extension with Epstein, whose deal runs through October 2016. Ricketts had previously indicated that's on the offseason to-do list, and nothing's changed in that regard.

"We're basically on the same page," Ricketts said. "I think that will go fine.

"There really hasn't been much sense of urgency. Like I said, I think we're on the same page. But at some point, we need to address it and get it behind us."

Epstein has indicated he wants to stay in Chicago for the long haul.

"I am committed to the Cubs and could not be happier," Epstein told in August.

--- Ricketts didn't play a huge role in the recruiting of this offseason's free-agent haul. In the early stages of the Cubs' discussions with free agents, Ricketts said he doesn't monitor anything too closely. As the Cubs zero in on a player, essentially becoming one of the final suitors, Ricketts is in much closer contact with Epstein, talking to him regularly on the phone. "In the past, I've obviously been involved when Jon Lester came to Chicago last year," Ricketts said. "And then I got on the road and went and saw a couple other guys that we were recruiting at one point. But this year, not so much. I think the story tells itself. The players are coming here to win with a team's that's good and young and a great manager, on a real quest."

--- The second phase of the renovation of Wrigley Field -- as well as the surrounding area -- is on schedule, Ricketts said. That's thanks in part to recent mild weather. Workers have only been set back by one day of bad weather this offseason so far. At this point last year, Ricketts estimated cold weather had already cost the construction crews seven or eight days of work. As you'll recall, the bleachers weren't completely finished until June, and there was the infamous Opening Night madness when there were a sufficient number of working restrooms at Wrigley Field.

"I don't have any concerns at the moment," Ricketts said.

"Once again, it's a long-term project. I don't want to give people the impression when they show up on Opening Day that Wrigley's done. We have a couple more years of heavy lifting to get the park rebuilt."

The primary focus is making sure the new players' clubhouse is completely ready for the Cubs on Opening Day, Ricketts said. He expects it will be.

Listen to Ricketts' full interview below.

Tom Ricketts on Mully & Hanley

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