Chicago Cubs Rumors: Focus on Shohei Ohtani as Winter Meetings start

The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings have started and the focus for the Chicago Cubs is on landing two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Aug 27, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17)
Aug 27, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are here and the week has the potential to be franchise-altering for the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs are one of the finalists to land two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani. Reports originating from the Winter Meetings on Sunday, when executives arrived in Nashville for the week ahead, was that Ohtani has already received multiple offers that exceed $500MM with a possibility that the bidding may reach $600MM.

The Cubs' primary plan for this off-season appears to be centered around Ohtani. As Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma report to Nashville for the Winter Meetings, they once again confirm in their preview (Subscription Required) of the week that the Cubs are currently all-in on Ohtani.

That does not mean that the Cubs are the favorites to sign Ohtani. Only 3 of the 16 MLB agents polled in The Athletic (Subscription Required) predicted that Ohtani would sign with the Cubs. Eight of those executives pegged the Los Angeles Dodgers as the team to sign Ohtani but the Cubs were second with three votes.

There has been a sense among misguided Cubs fans that if the Cubs sign Ohtani, they won't do anything else this off-season. That argument does not carry much weight as signing Ohtani would mean that the Cubs would undoubtedly pass the first threshold of the luxury tax tier but have approximately $20MM in space before reaching the next tier.

The interesting pivot will be what the Cubs do if they do miss on Ohtani. The Dodgers should still be considered the favorites to sign Ohtani and fans need to accept that the Cubs will likely need to pivot elsewhere at some point this week. Whether that means entering the trade talks for Juan Soto or circling back to Cody Bellinger, the Cubs' path should become clear by the end of this week.

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