Shohei Ohtani remains the topic of conversation for the Chicago Cubs this off-season.
It has been established that the Cubs are not just mentioned in the sweepstakes for Ohtani as the obligatory mention of the team doing due diligence. It would seem that the Cubs' primary plan at the moment is to sign Ohtani.
Easier said than done.
The Los Angeles Dodgers remain the favorite to sign Ohtani and if it's a question of money, the Dodgers likely will beat any offer that the Cubs submit. That hasn't stopped national reporters such as Jon Heyman of the New York Post from reporting that the Cubs are viewed as a threat to sign Ohtani.
"At least the Dodgers, Giants and Cubs are believed going big for two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, while the Padres, Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees and many others are linked, and the incumbent Angels are waiting and praying they’ll have a chance to retain arguably baseball’s greatest talent ever.- Jon Heyman, New York Post
The Cubs are thought a threat."
Ohtani, like his first free agency in 2017, appears to have a preference for playing on the West Coast and the Dodgers certainly provide that opportunity while also giving the 2023 American League MVP the opportunity to play in the post-season for the first time in his career.
The Cubs likely can convince Ohtani that the same opportunity exists on the North Side with him as the cornerstone of their lineup in 2024 and then will also need to sell the health of the organization. It was the same selling point that Cubs' president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer had for manager Craig Counsell. The hope is that Ohtani buys into the vision and signs what would be the largest deal in franchise history with the Cubs.