The Los Angeles Angels have taken superstar Shohei Ohtani off the trade market as the team will utilize the final two months of the season to push for the postseason in an attempt to convince Ohtani to sign back with the team this winter.
The usual suspects have already begun to be mentioned as the favorites for Ohtani as the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and San Diego Padres are expected to be among the frontrunners to sign Ohtani this winter.
The Chicago Cubs will reportedly be a part of that mix as well.
Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported on Saturday morning that the Cubs will be involved in Ohtani's market this winter. Thanks to Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation for the transcript of what Levine reported.
"“The Chicago Cubs will be among the players for Shohei Ohtani when he turns free agent in November. I don’t think it’s any shocking news. I don’t think it’s any breaking news. I just think it’s appropriate news that a big market team like the Chicago Cubs are going to be interested in the Shohei Ohtani market going forward, according to industry sources. … The Cubs want to continue to be the Chicago Cubs, they want to be world champions in the future, and Ohtani’s tires will be kicked by the organization.”"- Bruce Levine via 670 The Score
While the Cubs' interest in Ohtani this winter was expected, this is the first report in which their interest has been stated.
The idea of the Cubs signing Ohtani still should be considered a pipedream. Ohtani is going to garner a contract that has yet to be seen in the history of Major League Baseball and Levine didn't rule out a $600MM, or even, $700MM deal. Nothing within the Cubs' spending history under Jed Hoyer would suggest that the team is interested in such a deal.
For the Cubs, even though the chances of them signing Ohtani are unlikely, they have to, at the very least, give off the impression that they are among the players. Attending games at Wrigley Field remains one of the most expensive experiences in all of Major League Baseball and recent ventures into the Sportsbook and direct-to-consumer streaming have created a plethora of revenue paths. The PR backlash that the team would face if they weren't mentioned in Ohtani's market would be unprecedented.
Ohtani will probably be with the Dodgers by this time next season but hey, at least we can keep the faint hope alive a little longer.