Chicago Cubs: Starting to question the Cubs’ Way this offseason
Do we really need Ohtani?
I get it. Shohei Ohtani is THE free agent on the market this year. His potential to hit and pitch is not in doubt. Maybe he is the next “Babe Ruth,” whom he is equated to in Japan. Does his style of play fit the Chicago Cubs?
How do the Cubs intend to use the offensive-outfielder and power-pitching Ohtani? Should they expect to keep him in the outfield, who leaves? The outfield is loaded with talent, and with players the team would like to keep in the Utopian world they are creating. Platooning with Jason Heyward in right-field due to pitching matching is an option. Still, signing Ohtani means parting ways with a beloved Cub.
Or, do they relegate him to the rotation and hope to make him a number-two starter? Ohtani is capable of 100+ innings, having pitched to late level over the last few years. The fact he holds three plus-pitches is attractive to the Cubs, who need help in the rotation and bullpen. Some pundits say there are command and mechanical concerns.
As for batting, he is vulnerable to the inside pitch due to his long swing. Additionally, his health is a concern as he has been injured each season. Sure, there is plus speed and promise to hit, but he has never been a full-time hitter. Can he make the adjustments at the plate in limited appearances?
How do the Cubs juggle his talents with those on the team already? There is no doubt Ohtani is a special player, but I am not sure he will pan out in the Majors. Pitchers from Japanese teams have a history of performing well, but not necessarily batters.
Plus, comments suggest he wants to be on the West Coast. I guess the west coast of Lake Michigan fits?
For now, talks with Ohtani is holding up conversations with other players.