Sure, last offseason was fun when the Cubs were in on the shortstop market, but it doesn’t come close to being in on the best baseball player ever. It’s not just Bob Nightengale reporting it, several major MLB insiders are saying similar things: the Cubs will very much be involved in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes.
Here are the latest reports from the GM Meetings this past week.
Mark Feinsand: via MLB.com.
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While the Los Angeles Dodgers remain the perceived favorites for Shohei Ohtani, front office executives around the league do believe the Cubs are the biggest threat to the NL West team.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand polled 14 executives at the GM Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., and while most picked the Dodgers for Ohtani, one made sure to bring up the Cubs specifically.
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.”
Jon Heyman: via B/R Walk-Off.
Back in April, Jon Heyman was throwing cold water over any possibility of the Cubs signing Shohei Ohtani in free agency. However, he is now changing his tune after the Cubs shocked the league by hiring Craig Counsell when no one even thought he was an option for them this offseason.
“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.”
Patrick Mooney: via The Athletic.
While we have seen national insiders linking the Cubs to Ohtani, you can now add local beat reporters to the list. Patrick Mooney wrote about the Cubs’ pursuit of Ohtani back in 2017, and he also confirmed that the Cubs will be in the conversation with Ohtani this offseason.
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.
Again, at this point that should be pretty obvious for Cubs fans. At the very least the Cubs will have an offer for Ohtani and then hopefully that leads to more discussions. One of the major reasons Ohtani decided to go with the Los Angeles Angels when he first came over from Japan is that they could offer him the opportunity to DH, as the National League did not have that position at the time.
Well, the National League does have the DH now and the Cubs get another shot at the two-way star.
And in case you missed the first report from the GM Meetings that set off the hot stove, here’s what several GM told 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. And it would be foolish to count out the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets or even San Francisco Giants.
And it wouldn’t be the offseason without a random report from Twitter.
For more Ohtani and Cubs offseason discussion, check out the Pinwheels And Ivy Podcast.