It has been well established that the Chicago Cubs aren't just interested in superstar free agent Shohei Ohtani as a matter of due diligence. The Cubs seem to be among the leaders in the clubhouse for signing Ohtani this off-season but little information has been provided concerning the type of offer that the team may have.
The general expectation leading up to Ohtani's free agency this winter has been that he will land a contract north of $500MM but reports this off-season have also suggested that the two-way superstar may be open to a short-term deal with record AAV.
Ohtani will not be pitching during the 2024 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and that has led to speculation that he may be looking to cash in once again after the 2025 season.
A report from Bruce Levine of 670 The Score provided some more insight into what a potential from the Cubs may look like.
"The Cubs understand it will take a historic offer to land Ohtani, and they're willing to be creative in negotiations. With Ohtani’s pitching career on hold for one season, the Cubs would likely be willing to give him the flexibility to have opt-out language in the contract."- 670 The Score
Levine's report should remove any doubt that the Cubs won't be willing to offer Ohtani a deal that would be the richest in franchise history. While that has been a type of deal that the Cubs' front office led by Jed Hoyer has shied away from, Ohtani is a unicorn given he is the best pitcher and hitter in Major League Baseball when healthy. Not to mention, the return on investment for the Cubs in terms of marketing, revenue, etc would be unprecedented.
While the Los Angeles Dodgers should still be viewed as the "favorite" for Ohtani, Sunday's development for the Cubs is encouraging as it further emphasizes that the team is very much operating with the intention of signing the two-way generational superstar.