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Tom Ricketts: It's A Division Title Or 'Disappointment' For Revamped, Confident Cubs

(CBS) Backing up a belief that his manager and star player have already expressed, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told the Mully and Hanley Show on Friday that his expectation is to win the NL Central and compete in the postseason this year after a busy offseason that included the addition of $155-million ace Jon Lester.

"The entire organization believes this is a time for us to win our division," Ricketts said when asked how he'd define success. "If we don't achieve that goal, there will be a lot of disappointment. But I think the most important thing is everybody just focus on -- all the players coming in, make sure they get healthy and get ready to play, get off to a good start. Let's play up to our capabilities and have a great summer.

"We just knew we had to basically rebuild the foundation of the baseball side of the organization. Then you kind of let the chips fall where they may. Obviously, a lot of guys have come along very quickly, and Theo (Epstein) and Jed (Hoyer) and the baseball guys felt it was time this year to add some free agents, some veterans to round out the lineup. And we think we have a kind of team that can win the division."

The Cubs have finished last in the NL Central in the past two years and haven't had a winning season since 2009.

One player who could be vital in the Cubs' push for the division title is Kris Bryant, the elite third base prospect who's competing for a job in spring training but who's expected to not be called up until at least a few weeks into the season for service time reasons. If the Cubs hold off until then, they'll retain contract control of him through 2021 instead of 2020.

That's created much debate, as Bryant is the reigning minor league player of the year and the Cubs traded away third baseman Luis Valbuena in the offseason.

Ricketts shot down the notion that he's conflicted over Bryant's promotion timeline.

"Not at all," Ricketts said.

"Fans understand that we have to do what's right for the team in the big picture. And I think Theo will do what's right for the organization. I don't really have any conflicts at all on that front."

Ricketts added he has no regrets about playing home games at Wrigley Field this season as the iconic stadium undergoes the first phase of renovations, which have been delayed. That's in some contrast to president of business operations Crane Kenney's belief, as when asked the same question earlier this week, Kenney said, "Ask me in four years."

The Cubs gave an "extensive" look at moving their 2015 home games to Milwaukee's Miller Park.

"None at all," Ricketts said of any regrets. "We thought about Milwaukee. The reason Milwaukee could possibly work is because it has a roof. The Cell, it would be really difficult. We have a hard enough time keeping our field in shape for just the games that we have. Then of course if there's a rainout, rescheduling is always a challenge. I just think with Chicago weather, it never would have been a viable option."

"The right answer for us to do it sequentially. It takes more time, and it takes more money, but we don't want to shut Wrigley Field down for a whole season. I think it just means too much to the people who come to the games."

Click here to listen to Ricketts' full interview, as he also talks about new manager Joe Maddon, the team's poor draft history being turned around and much more.

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