Ricketts discussed the problems with the Cubs, who enter Friday with a 59-80 record, telling Wittenmeyer:
"I know it's not a money issue. You can't just throw money at the problem. We have to build the organization from the ground up. And that's what we're doing right now."
Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com estimated on May 1 that the team had nearly $600 million in debt, a major-league high. The chairman didn't deny that the debt factored into the team's ability to spend money, but insisted it's "a lot less than you think."
Ricketts is trying to increase revenues by placing signage and a JumboTron board in the outfield. The club is also attempting to renegotiate their deal with WGN closer to $1 million per game.
The owner also dressed the contention raised by Rick Morrisey of the Sun-Times that ownership had no interest in winning this year, stating:
"We go into every season wanting to win. But we also make personnel decisions based on what's best for the organization over the longer term. The fact is, we're doing it the right way. We have the best leaders in our baseball organization, the smartest guys. It's one step at a time. And we're getting better."
John Sickels of Minor League Ball rated the Cubs farm system as the 11th best heading into 2013 after it scored as the 20th best before the 2012 season.