By Bruce Levine-
PHOENIX (CBS) — The Chicago Cubs are going after top-flight talent and have taken some aggressive tactics in sending out that message.
The often-used media leak isn’t the way their executives have gotten the word out. Oh sure, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer came out and said they expect to contend for a division title in 2015. Yet that marketing ploy pales in comparison to the video presentation that the Cubs formulated for agents and the free agent players they represent.
The video, voiced by broadcaster Len Kasper, extols the great things happening in the Cubs organization. Video of the two-year-old Dominican Republic facility for players and the new Cubs Park complex in Mesa, Ariz., are featured along with the state-of-the-art improvements mock-up for iconic Wrigley Field. The young Cubs players making their way through the system and All-Stars Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are highlighted.
“In the video they did a nice job of showing you that they are the ‘team to be with’ going forward,” said one agent who has talked to the team about his client. “Really, the whole thing was informational and interesting. They appear to have a lot to offer players like my guy.”
The Cubs may have used a page out of the playbook of super-agent Scott Boras. For years, Boras has sent out 30-page books to teams and media when he had a free agent ready to hit the open market. That type of razzle-dazzle can be an effective subliminal tool when selling power points to would-be clients.
“We feel there is a lot of momentum with the Cubs right now,” Hoyer told me Tuesday. “We have great facilities in Arizona and the Dominican. The ballpark (Wrigley) is going to be renovated tremendously well. We wanted to capture that momentum and explain it. We have not won at the major league level since we have been here. (The video), we hope will let them know Chicago is a pretty great place to play.”
The Cubs’ early pursuit of star free agents Jon Lester and Russell Martin back up their aggressive approach. The Cubs have taken the long, hard road to regaining credibility as an organization after five straight losing seasons and rebuilding.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.