The Chicago Cubs missed out on the Ohtani sweepstakes. Now, it’s time for Jed and Co. to move on and get to work.
After days and weeks of constant Shohei Ohtani rumors, speculation, and fake reports he has made his official decision and it was not the Chicago Cubs:
Shohei Ohtani's deal with the Dodgers is for 10 years and $700 million.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2023
I think everyone knew going into the offseason that the Dodgers were the front runners to acquire the two-way star. It wasn’t going to be easy to sway him from staying in the only American city he’s known and moving to a considerably better team and franchise. They obviously possessed the outrageous money required to get him. With all that said, it still is disappointing that the Chicago Cubs came up empty-handed. However, it is not time to sit and wallow as the Cubs can still be contenders. Here is what they need to get done to build one.
Even when they were still in the hunt for Ohtani, the Cubs were rumored to be in on many different starting pitchers who are currently on the trade block. They included Tyler Glasnow, Shane Bieber, and Corbin Burnes. They have also been linked to free agents Shota Imanaga, Jordan Montgomery, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. With the current state of the rotation, acquiring one from each group would be the best route, but at least one of those six is a must.
All of the trade candidates would just be one year commitments as all will hit free agency next offseason. Bieber and Imanaga would be solid and cost the least capital, Glasnow and Montgomery would be awesome, but will have plenty of other teams after their services, and Burnes and Yamamoto are far and away the two best options but won’t be cheap. No matter who or how many, the rotation needs addressed for this season because relying on Assad, Wicks, Wesneski, and maybe Ben Brown or Cade Horton to fill out the final two rotation spots all season would be a mistake.
The bullpen also needs to be addressed. They could go get a big time closer such as Josh Hader or Emmanuel Clase like some believe they might. Even if they don’t, they need to lengthen the bullpen. By the end of the season, they were so depleted you worried if there were enough arms to get the needed outs to finish out games. Robert Stephenson, Phil Maton, Matt Moore, Colin McHugh, and Brent Suter are just a few guys who could make a real difference in the Chicago Cubs bullpen.
Just like the pitching side, the Chicago Cubs have been linked to numerous hitters this offseason whether it be through trade or free agency. They include the likes of Pete Alonso, Rhys Hoskins, Matt Chapman, and Cody Bellinger. There are also teams such as the Twins, Royals, and Rays who have some interesting trade pieces the team could look to make moves for. Plus, there are other intriguing hitters out there that they haven’t yet been linked to that could prove to be useful additions.
Pete Alonso is the most unattainable as it seems the Mets aren’t too inclined to trade him. It would be great to have Bellinger back, but his price tag might be more than the Cubs would be comfortable with. It seems Hoskins and Chapman will be right in their wheelhouse. Hoskins adds the needed thump to the lineup and solid defense at first. He would likely be on a similar deal to Bellinger’s “prove it” deal from last year. The Cubs have shown to like to make those types of signings. As for Chapman, if the Cubs believe his bat can be fixed or tweaked they could sign him to a long term deal as he is one of the best with the glove at third. The Cubs infield defense would be special with his addition.
Whether it be one of those guys listed, someone on the trade block, or someone they’ve not been linked to they need to add power to the lineup at the corners of the infield. Of course, if they believe Morel could play third and PCA can play center they could add a DH-type like Teoscar Hernandez or Jorge Soler. Or add one of the trade targets like Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, or Yandy Diaz. The team might just have to get creative with getting everyone at-bats and figuring out where everyone plays.
The Chicago Cubs missed out on franchise-altering talent this offseason. There’s no way around that. For a team in the state they’re in, it really feels like a missed opportunity. Still, there are so many good options out there to improve the team for 2024 and beyond. They just have to go get them and piece it all together.
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