Chicago Cubs Rumors: Shohei Ohtani will not be traded this winter

Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

Given the Cubs need an ace and a power bat, preferably a left-handed one, the allure of a Shohei Ohtani is certaintly understandable. Throw in the fact he's doing things on the diamond no one has ever done and the idea grows even more tantalizing.

But according to Angels GM Perry Minasian, Ohtani isn't going anywhere.

"Ohtani is not getting moved. He’s going to be here. He’ll be with us to start the season. I know there’s been rumors and all types of things, but he will be here. He’ll be part of the club. I said this before and I’ll say it again: We love the player. I think our goal is for him to be here for a long time. "

Perry Minasian, Angels GM

Reading that quote, one key piece jumps out to me, when Minasian says Ohtani will be with the Angels to 'start' the season. That leaves the door for an in-season trade wide open, which seems like a near-guarantee unless either A: the team is in the thick of things and are buyers at the deadline or B: Ohtani and Los Angeles have agreed to a long-term extension by that point, which is even more complicated than you might think.

Not only would Minasian face the tall task of locking up a once-in-a-lifetime talent, but Angels owner Arte Moreno is exploring a potential sale of the team - furthering complicating anything related to payroll, especially of the long-term variety. It remains to be seen just how much he'll dedicate to payroll in 2023. After all, the Angels are already north of $150 million in obligations without any offseason additions yet.

Cubs will still get their chance to add Shohei Ohtani

Ohtani and the Angels have already agreed to a $30 million contract for 2023 - his final year of arbitration. But, barring an extension coming together this winter or early next year, he'll be poised to headline the free agency class next offseason.

Chicago is going to flex its financial muscle this winterikely adding a star shortstop and shoring up the rotation. But even if they blow the doors off the joint this offseason, there's going to be money to spend next winter, too. Ohtani could be at the top of the Cubs' wish list - but know right now, it'll take not only the richest contract in franchise history, but perhaps in baseball history, to get it done.

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So, don't go ordering that Ohtani Cubs jersey just yet. It won't come to be this winter - but there's still a chance Chicago shakes up the pecking order in the league heading into 2024 with a signing that could change everything.