The Chicago Cubs' need for a starting pitcher this off-season has been well documented as have been rumors of the Cubs looking to trade for Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow.
The value for the Cubs in acquiring Glasnow is that they have a frontline starting pitcher for next season with only a $25MM price tag. Considering the Cubs' current pursuit of two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, it makes sense for the team to not have much of a desire for a long-term commitment to a top-end starting pitcher this off-season considering Ohtani is expected to return to the pitching mound in 2025.
For the same reasons, it has always seemed like the Cubs were not going to be heavily involved in the sweepstakes for Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Yamamoto is in the middle of his posting window while sitting at the top of the list for available starting pitchers. Yamamoto is likely going to command a contract in the range of $200MM for 5-7 seasons and that has been the type of deal that the Cubs have openly admitted to staying away from.
Having said that, much like Ohtani is a unicorn in the sense of the Cubs going against their usual spending habits, the same could apply to Yamamoto. Yamamoto is only 25 years old with the thinking being that a Major League Baseball team is going to pay him for the prime seasons that are ahead. It's a very rare instance that a starting pitcher is available in free agency ahead of his prime and that could be the justification for the Cubs.
To that end, Jeff Passan of ESPN (Subscription Required) lists the Cubs among the favorites to sign Yamamoto. Other teams listed are the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Boston Red Sox. There is a belief if not expectation that Yamamoto could decide on his next team next week at the Winter Meetings.