Chicago Cubs continue to be linked to Shohei Ohtani as free agent sweepstakes loom

Another MLB Insider has linked the Chicago Cubs to Shohei Ohtani as his free agency will be the biggest storyline of the MLB off-season.
Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Chicago Cubs fans will need to get used to hearing the team be linked to Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani will be a free agent this winter and will be the biggest storyline to follow during the Major League Baseball off-season. While there has been uncertainty in regard to whether or not Ohtani will be able to pitch next season, there still is an industry expectation that he will land the biggest free agent deal in the history of the MLB.

For that reason alone, the Cubs are going to get the obligatory mention this off-season whenever the market for Ohtani is discussed.

In other words, the Cubs' leverage.

Regardless of whether or not the Cubs will be a legitimate suitor for Ohtani this off-season, agents are going to leak that the team is interested in Ohtani. The reason is the threat of the Cubs' spending big on Ohtani will drive up his market. And while Ohtani's doesn't necessarily need the "Cubs' leverage" as a negotiating ploy, it is bound to happen regardless.

That is the reason why it is no surprise to see former MLB general manager Jim Bowden list the Cubs among the 10 most likely suitors for Ohtani this off-season.

The Cubs' interest in Ohtani this off-season may be more of the "due diligence" variety. That is not because the Cubs won't spend money this off-season, in fact, the Cubs' moves in-season have indicated that the team will be going into the luxury tax next season. But, for the Cubs, the priority may be signing Cody Bellinger to a long-term extension.

Assuming Bellinger is going to be the priority for the Cubs, that will likely take the Cubs out of the market for Ohtani if a deal is reached with their current center fielder/first baseman.

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