The Chicago Cubs have presumably advanced past the due diligence stage concerning their interest in superstar free-agent Shohei Ohtani.
The reporting that originated from the General Manager's meetings last week would suggest that the Cubs are involved in the sweepstakes for Ohtani and their interest is beyond just the preliminary level.
While there still is an expectation that Ohtani will sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers this off-season, the Cubs are beginning to be mentioned as the team that signs the superstar if a deal with the Dodgers does not occur.
There have been indicators about Ohtani's preferences that work in the Cubs' favor as he may value winning above geography and on Monday, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN reported that the superstar may not be against the idea of signing a short-term deal with a high AAV.
"That type of free agent contract, of course, would require a long-term commitment. But people familiar with Ohtani's thinking believe he might be open to a short-term deal with an exceedingly high average annual value, a circumstance that would open up a host of suitors this offseason."- ESPN
The biggest reason why the Cubs may not leapfrog the Dodgers in Ohtani's market is because of the presumed length of the potential deal and the superstar wanting to be on the West Coast.
The Cubs are never going to match the Dodgers in terms of the length of the offer they submit to Ohtani. But, the Cubs have shown an inclination to sign free agents to a short-term deal with an inflated AAV. If on a three or four-year deal, there is no question that the Cubs will be willing to give Ohtani an AAV of $50MM per season if not higher.
These are the circumstances to keep in mind when Hoyer says that everything needs to be aligned for a big move to occur this off-season. That's not to say that the Cubs definitely will sign Ohtani this off-season but their chances are a lot stronger today than they were at the end of the season.