Chicago Cubs Rumors: 'Don't sleep' on Chicago in the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes

While much of the attention has gone to teams on the east and west coasts, one national insider thinks the Cubs could land the 25-year-old Japanese right-hander.

Republic of Korea v Japan - Baseball - Olympics: Day 12
Republic of Korea v Japan - Baseball - Olympics: Day 12 / Koji Watanabe/GettyImages

With a report out that suggests Shohei Ohtani will make his highly-anticipated free agency decision this week, it's all eyes on the reigning 2023 AL MVP. But rumors around another Japanese superstar, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, are heating up as well - with one report singling out the Chicago Cubs as a legitimate threat to land the 25-year-old.

Now, it goes without saying that whichever team signs Ohtani probably isn't going to dole out the $200+ million Yamamoto is seeking, as well. But the Cubs clearly have a ton of irons in the fire right now, including keeping tabs on both of these guys and monitoring the trade market on guys like Tyler Glasnow and Shane Bieber.

Cubs have been connected to both Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Shohei Ohtani

The teams that come out on the wrong end of the Ohtani sweepstakes will have to pivot quickly to contingency plans - and Yamamoto's market could definitely be impacted by that. But make no mistake: while the Cubs are in on both guys, they remain intermingled with a group of other contenders and aren't necessarily viewed as front-runners for either.

On the Yamamoto front specifically, there seems to be quite a bit of smoke coming from the Giants - this, according to San Francisco beat writer Susan Slusser.

With baseball's Winter Meetings kicking off in Nashville this week, the big names could start coming off the board in short order. Expect the Cubs to be right in the thick of things - which will hopefully mean some huge moves to bolster a roster with postseason hopes in 2024.