Chicago Cubs Rumors: Still hope in Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes?

After reports from Bob Nightengale on Tuesday afternoon suggested the Chicago Cubs were out on Shohei Ohtani, Jon Heyman reported the team still believes they have a chance.

Aug 22, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA;  Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) in
Aug 22, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) in / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
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Tuesday has been a dramatic day for the Chicago Cubs and their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today was on an agenda to take the Cubs out of the running for signing Ohtani. Expanding upon his initial tweet that the Cubs' hopes of signing Ohtani were waning, the USA Today MLB insider doubled down in this update.

"The Chicago Cubs, however, have balked at Ohtani’s price tag of 10 years and at least $500 million, one high-ranking official told USA TODAY Sports and appear to now be out of the bidding."

USA Today

When Nightengale first dropped that tidbit, it sounded off alarms. Not the alarm of "here we go again, the Cubs are once again choosing to sit out on the bidding for the top talent available" but the alarm of why is this information being leaked now.

First, let's get this out of the way, Nightengale was likely not speaking with a Cubs official. There is no benefit to the Cubs leaking this information. There may be a team out there, perhaps on the South Side, that has an executive, perhaps Jerry Reinsdorf, who is friendly with Nightengale and would benefit from the idea of the Cubs not spending money.

But, at the time, Nightengale's report was the only concrete information that we had on Tuesday regarding an Ohtani update. Since then, Jon Heyman of the New York Post and Jed Hoyer himself pushed back against Nightengale's reporting.

This is not to say the Cubs are going to sign Ohtani but we can now comfortably say the Nightengale may have been used for leverage of some sort. Sure, that is often the purpose that teams have for reporters like Nightengale but there is a responsibility on the reporter to vet the information that he is receiving.

So, where do things stand with Ohtani? The Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Angels are all believed to still be in the mix. Oh, and speaking of the Dodgers, manager Dave Robert may have been a little too comfortable when talking about Ohtani today.

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