Friday, April 12, 2024

Shohei Ohtani Never Considered Signing with Cubs


Shohei Ohtani signed a $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’ll only earn $2 million a season through the duration of the 10-year agreement and then Ohtani will receive a $68 million deferment payment from 2034-43. Maybe it wasn’t always the Dodgers for Ohtani, but it really does seem like he had no intention of leaving Southern California. One thing we have learned is that Ohtani had little to no interest in the Chicago Cubs this offseason.

At the end of the Ohtani sweepstakes, only five teams were seen as finalists: Dodgers, Angels, Blue Jays, Giants and Cubs. However, after Ohtani’s jaw-dropping deal with the Dodgers, MLB insiders started to shed light on who was actually a serious suitor. Here’s the thing, these clubs probably felt that they were in the mix, but did Ohtani feel the same way?

According to SI’s Tom Verducci, Ohtani never considered signing with the Cubs seriously.

Verducci added that he also viewed the Dodgers as Ohtani’s preferred destination from the beginning of his free agency. The Blue Jays did catch Ohtani’s attention, as their indoor ballpark appealed to Ohtani.

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Jon Heyman named the Blue Jays and Angels as the true finalists along with the ultimate winners in the Dodgers, while listing the Giants and Cubs on the outside looking in.

The Dodgers officially introduced Ohtani to their team this past week and something else was revealed that goes back to the initial thought that Ohtani wasn’t really looking to leave the LA area.

Despite the constant losing with the Angels and the lack of substantial progress within the organization, Ohtani was still willing to go back to his former team.

Via the Los Angeles Times.

Before Shohei Ohtani made his decision last week to sign with the Dodgers, he and his agent, Nez Balelo of CAA Sports, approached the Angels near the end of his free-agent process, giving Ohtani’s old team a chance to convince him to stay in Anaheim.

However, Angels owner Arte Moreno wouldn’t budge. According to multiple people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly, Moreno wouldn’t match the 10-year, $700-million deal Ohtani eventually signed with the Dodgers.

As for other tidbits, the Giants publicly said that they agreed to Ohtani’s contract terms that he had with the Dodgers. ESPN’s Jeff Passan also reported that the Blue Jays agreed to the same terms, but again, it was the Dodgers he chose.

No matter what from a Cubs fan’s perspective, it sucks that Ohtani didn’t really have the Cubs on his list. I still believe the Dodgers were his number one choice all along and he was using other teams as leverage, but the reason the Dodgers were at the top of his list is because they win. Los Angeles has won 10 consecutive NL West titles and although their lone World Series win came in the shortened 2020 season, it’s obvious that Ohtani was drawn to their leadership.

Ohtani’s commitment with the Dodgers is directly tied to the team keeping Andrew Friedman and Mark Walter.

Maybe the only chance the Cubs could have had to entice Ohtani was to have plans to build a dome at Wrigley Field.

As far as the Cubs’ attempt at signing Ohtani, they reported offered more than $50 million per year, but at no point did his camp engage in negotiations with the Cubs.

Via Bleacher Nation.

Bruce Levine reported on 670 The Score that the Cubs’ offers to Shohei Ohtani went over $50 million in AAV, and went upwards of 10 years (he didn’t EXACTLY say the Cubs offered 10/$500M or more, but that was the implication). Since the Dodgers’ offer was worth $460 million, it’s possible the Cubs’ offer was actually for more money. But the thing is, Ohtani simply never seriously engaged with the Cubs. No visit. No negotiation. He simply was not interested.

Again, it sucks no matter what has come out. As Cubs fans, we thought they had a real chance and through the first month of free agency it really did seem like they were a serious suitor. Here’s what Bruce Levine was saying a month ago.

But it wasn’t just Levine. National reporters also had the Cubs very much in the Ohtani sweepstakes.

Executives around the league do believe the Cubs will be a contender for Ohtani this winter.


One NL executive who picked the Dodgers believes their greatest competition will not come from another West Coast team, but rather a team that made headlines this week with its managerial hire.

“He doesn’t seem to be driven by money, so I don’t think it’s just dollars,” the NL exec said. “I think it’s all about fit for him. I think the Cubs will push hard for him.”

Via Jon Heyman.

“I’m not ruling out the Cubs, if they’re willing to spend $40 million dollars on a manager, they’re going to be aggressive. They mean business.”

Via The Athletic.

The Cubs were granted an audience with Ohtani in December 2017, which could mean nothing in the complex negotiations that will fascinate the baseball world. But the Cubs again plan to be involved in Ohtani’s process, a league source confirmed, which doesn’t guarantee anything other than more rumors and daydreaming about him performing at Wrigley Field.

Via Bob Nightengale.

The Dodgers remain the heavy favorites. The Chicago Cubs and Rangers are serious contenders, with several GMs saying that the Cubs may be the most aggressive team for his services.

Ultimately, the Cubs themselves probably did view themselves as serious contenders and if they were offering $50 million+ per year for Ohtani, then that was a serious offer. The fact that Ohtani did not meet with the Cubs, did not try to negotiate with the Cubs and did not present them with the final terms that the other teams agreed to, does show that the Cubs never had a chance.


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Nov 20, 2023 10:06 pm

Keep dreaming!

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