The Chicago Cubs will be big players in the race for Shohei Ohtani this offseason
The MLB’s annual Winter Meetings begin next week and it’s the time in the offseason where things will heat up with rumors, reports and more in Nashville. And the biggest name at the meetings will be Shohei Ohtani.
The star will be the free agent prize for one team this offseason as he’s expected to not return to the Los Angeles Angels. Several teams will be involved in the race for Shohei Ohtani and that will include the Chicago Cubs.
Chicago is already being linked to Ohtani this offseason and now another insider has the plan for the Cubs pursuit. 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine wrote on the Ohtani situation, stating that the team’s plan is to be in it until the end for the star player. And that’s great news for Cubs fans who are looking to land the big fish.
The Cubs now hope the 29-year-old Ohtani is intrigued once again. As the start of the Winter Meetings loom in a week, Ohtani’s decision on his next destination is the focus of the baseball world, and the Cubs will continue to be aggressive in their pursuit of him, sources said.
Ohtani has hit free agency after a season in which he won the American League MVP award for the second time in three years. He .304 with 44 homers, 95 RBIs and an MLB-best 1.066 OPS in 135 games in 2023, when he also posted a 3.14 ERA and 1.06 WHIP while striking out 167 batters in 132 innings across 23 starts.
The Cubs won’t be the only team in on Shohei Ohtani
As mentioned above, the race for Ohtani will be a big one as several teams are expected to be in pursuit, worsening the Cubs chances. Chicago will have to beat out teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants who are also expected to be in the race to land him, as are other teams per MLB insider Bob Nightengale:
If Shohei Ohtani does not sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers or Angels, some executives predict that he’ll end up signing with either the Chicago Cubs or Texas Rangers, while the San Francisco Giants will offer the most money.
Shohei Ohtani may prefer to stay on the West Coast, which could complicate things as Jeff Passan stated:
Ohtani, according to multiple sources, has expressed affinity for certain teams and cities in the past. He deeply respects the Los Angeles Dodgers’ winning ways, their ability to develop players and their progressive coaching approach.
To a surprise, the New York Yankees aren’t expected to be in the race per a report. That should be good news for a team like the Cubs.
Despite other teams involved, Levine noted that the Cubs are expected to match what will be a ‘historic’ offer for Shohei Ohtani:
“The Cubs understand it will take a historic offer to land Ohtani, and they’re willing to be creative in negotiations. With Ohtani’s pitching career on hold for one season, the Cubs would likely be willing to give him the flexibility to have opt-out language in the contract,” he writes.
It’s an exciting time for the Cubs’ franchise to even be considered in talks to land a player like this and after making a change at the manager spot, it feels like they are going all in. That begins with the Winter Meetings in Nashville where there will be a lot of rumors surrounding teams.
And it’s just getting started for what will be a big offseason on the North Side as they continue to build towards the future for the franchise.
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