It would seem that resolution is nearing on two moves that are likely holding up the market for Major League Baseball.
Shohei Ohtani's free agency decision is close. While the Cubs have not been officially told that they are out on Ohtani, it would seem to be a longshot at best that the two-way superstar will be joining the North Siders.
Given the magnitude of Ohtani's decision, much of free agency is on hold until there is clarity on what teams will need to pivot to other options. The Cubs, through way of reporting, appear to be ready to pivot with the likes of third baseman Matt Chapman, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, and center fielder Cody Bellinger being fallback options for the team.
It would seem that the Cubs' biggest competition for Bellinger, the New York Yankees, may no longer be in play for the 2023 National League Comeback Player of the Year. A day after acquiring outfielder Alex Verdugo from the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees appear to be closing in on a trade for outfielder Juan Soto of the San Diego Padres.
The likely acquisition of Soto would take the Yankees out of play for Bellinger. While Bellinger still is believed to have a high asking price, the off-season appears to be trending toward the scenario where the Cubs and their 2023 Opening Day center fielder find their way back to each other this off-season. The San Francisco Giants likely will be the Cubs' biggest competition for Bellinger and given their missed pursuits in the past, the team may be desperate enough to meet his price. If not, the Cubs certainly will circle back.