The Chicago Cubs may already be a finalist for superstar free agent Shohei Ohtani.
It's become clear that the Cubs do indeed have a serious interest in signing Ohtani this off-season but on Saturday, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score furthered the rumor.
For much of the past two years, it has seemed inevitable that the Dodgers would be the suitor for Ohtani. The Dodgers inquired on a possible trade for Ohtani during the past two Major League Baseball Trade Deadlines and the overwhelming expectation has been that the 2023 American League MVP will be signing with the primary Los Angeles team this off-season. For that reason, the Dodgers should still be considered the favorite to sign Ohtani.
But, the Cubs' chances to sign Ohtani may be stronger than originally believed at the start of the off-season. For as much star power as Ohtani, he also respects his privacy and that could be an advantage for the Cubs considering the tight-lipped nature in which the front office operates under president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer.
The pushback to the Cubs not signing Ohtani has been the idea that the team has shied away from signing the type of contract that the superstar will command this off-season.
While that certainly is true, Ohtani does not fall into the same category as the top free agents in previous off-seasons. Ohtani is a unicorn and while he may land a deal around $500MM, the reason why the Cubs may be willing to go to that length is because of the follow-up that Levine offered. The type of revenue that Ohtani would generate for the Cubs would be unprecedented and the $100MM that Levine mentioned likely isn't even taking into account the global impact. There is an exception to every rule and for the Cubs' off-season spending practices, Ohtani is the exception.