It should be no surprise that the expected courtship of Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani was the talk of the 2023 Major League Baseball All-Star game.
The Chicago Cubs are expected to be a part of the conversation this winter when Ohtani becomes a free agent this winter but there are a couple of talking points that may be working against the Cubs' favor.
The expectation is that Ohtani prefers to play on the West Coast and that has earmarked the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, or re-signing with the Angels as three likely outcomes this winter. If it is not a West Coast team, well, the New York Yankees are waiting in the weeds.
The second blocker to the idea of Ohtani signing with the Cubs is the likelihood that his next contract will exceed $500MM. Such a deal and long-term investment goes against the spending that the team has preferred over the past two seasons.
For the Cubs, the only chance they may have at acquiring Ohtani may be through trade.
To that end, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported on Friday that the Angels will be willing to listen to trade offers on Ohtani.
"As I reported on @mlb Network this morning, sources tell me the Angels front office will consider incoming trade inquiries for Shohei Ohtani. The club is not ruling out the possibility of a deadline deal, even though the standard to move Ohtani is extraordinarily high. The team’s performance over the upcoming homestand will be a big consideration in the Angels’ ultimate course. At this point, many in the industry still view a trade as unlikely. @mlbnetworkradio @foxsportsradio @mlbpipeline"- Jon Morosi via Threads
That is where things get interesting as there are few teams that have the prospect capital that would entice the Angels enough to pull the trigger on a trade. The Cubs are one of those teams.
The key for the Cubs will be the pitching prospects as the team will have to use one of Ben Brown, Cade Horton, or Jordan Wicks to be the centerpiece of a package along with one of the outfield prospects such as Owen Caissie or Kevin Alcantara. The package wouldn't stop there but is a nice starting point for a potential deal.
Getting Ohtani in the organization before the end of the season may give the Cubs a leg up on the competition this winter. Though, considering the prospects the Cubs would give up in a potential trade, it's likely that the team would want assurance of a long-term deal.