Los Angeles Angels superstar and Chicago Cubs free agent target Shohei Ohtani underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair the UCL tear in his right elbow.
Over the course of the past month, there had been an expectation that the surgery was inevitable for Ohtani but he remained in the Los Angeles Angels' lineup as a designated hitter while the team still had a shot at making the postseason.
With the Angels collapsing and after being placed on the IL over the weekend with an oblique injury that ended his season, Ohtani elected to have the surgery this week.
The surgeon who performed the surgery, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, deemed the surgery a success and provided an outline of what is next for Ohtani.
"“The ultimate plan after deliberation with Shohei was to repair the issue at hand and to reinforce the healthy ligament in place while adding viable tissue for the longevity of the elbow,” Dr. ElAttrache said in the statement. “I expect full recovery and he’ll be ready to hit without any restrictions come Opening Day of 2024 and do both (hit and pitch) come 2025.”"- MLB Trade Rumors
We now have confirmation that Ohtani will not pitch next season and this undoubtedly will impact the Cubs' decision of whether or not they will pursue the superstar.
The biggest draw that Ohtani had to the Cubs was the fact that he is a true ace that the team could add to the top of their starting rotation with Justin Steele. It would seem that the Cubs may have hesitancy paying Ohtani his asking price being that it will be his age-31 season that he returns to the pitching mound.
Now, there is no question that Ohtani is an MVP-caliber player regardless of whether or not he is pitching because of the potency of his offensive approach.
The question for the Cubs will be do they want to go all out and pay Ohtani with the uncertainty of what lies ahead in regard to his ability as a pitcher or if would they prefer to put all their chips toward re-signing Cody Bellinger.
Ohtani should be the clear answer for the Cubs but given their tendency, it would seem that team may be leaning toward prioritizing Bellinger.