Chicago Cubs Emerge as 'Sleeper' Team to Sign Shohei Ohtani

Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Angels
Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Angels / John McCoy/GettyImages

Shohei Ohtani will be a free agent after the 2023 season and could quickly become the highest-paid player in history. The teams that can afford his price tag will surely offer him whatever he wants. Should the Los Angeles Angels fail to resign Ohtani, the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets could be the favorites among teams looking to sign the two-way player. However, there is one sleeper team to be on the lookout for, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The Chicago Cubs have been reluctant to spend big money in free agency, which was shown this past offseason. Although Dansby Swanson has been off to a hot start, the Cubs missed out on Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts. However, several baseball executives have predicted the Cubs to be a team to watch out for when it comes to Ohtani's free agency. An AL executive said this about the Cubs' chances of signing the superstar in free agency next offseason,

"I'm telling you, that's the team to watch out for. I could easily see him going there."

Bob Nightengale - USA Today

It is worth mentioning that the Cubs were on Ohtani's list when he originally left Japan to come to the MLB. Chicago did make some moves this past offseason, signing Jameson Taillon, Dansby Swanson, and Trey Mancini to multi-year deals. Those players are not enough to move the needle toward winning another World Series. Adding Ohtani would immediately give the Cubs a much-needed boost on the mound and at the plate.

If the Cubs do end up resigning Happ, their lineup will feature Swanson, Happ, Mancini, Seiya Suzuki, and Nico Hoerner. Adding Ohtani to that mix would give the Cubs what they need to be a top offense in the league. Suzuki has already been trying to recruit Ohtani to the Cubs, so there is a connection.

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It will be interesting to see if the Cubs are willing to match the price tag on Ohtani (my guess is they are not). For now, though, Cubs fans can be excited just being mentioned in the same sentence as the former MVP.