Chicago Cubs Rumors: Team falling out of Shohei Ohtani race

It would seem that the Chicago Cubs have fallen out of the race for free-agent Shohei Ohtani as they are no longer viewed as a finalist.

Sep 2, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17)
Sep 2, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) / D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
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The Chicago Cubs may be preparing to pivot off their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani.

The Cubs' off-season plans were on hold as they prioritized the pursuit of Ohtani but reporting over the past 24 hours seemed to be leading up to the point that we are at now, the team appears to be no longer involved in the market for the 2023 American League Most Valuable Player.

Reports overnight were that the Toronto Blue Jays met with Ohtani on Monday at their Spring Training Complex in Florida. While that news alone shouldn't have ruled the Cubs out on Ohtani, the fact that interest from both the Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants seemed to be on the upswing at the Winter Meetings likely was an indicator that the Cubs were falling behind in the race.

Based on reporting, it would seem that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Blue Jays may be the favorites for Ohtani. The Dodgers are still widely believed to be the overall favorite.

Let's be clear, the likeliest of outcomes this off-season was that Ohtani was not going to be signing with the Cubs. To that end, the Cubs can still have a successful off-season without signing Ohtani.

The path to that successful off-season, however, is not as clear with Ohtani not part of it. It would seem that Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto will be a pivot for the Cubs but that does not address their need for offense. Reports from Day 1 of the Winter Meetings were that the Cubs were eyeing Cody Bellinger, Rhys Hoskins, and Matt Chapman if they missed on Ohtani.

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