Chicago Cubs Rumors: Updates on Shohei Ohtani and Cody Bellinger

The Chicago Cubs continue to be the talk of the MLB GM meetings in Arizona as after the hiring of Craig Counsell, the attention turns to their moves to improve the roster.
Sep 17, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani (17) sits in
Sep 17, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani (17) sits in / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs are the talk of the MLB general manager meetings in Arizona this week after the league was left shocked by the news that the team hired Craig Counsell as their manager and consequently fired David Ross.

To offer a reminder, the general manager meetings that are taking place this week are not the "Winter Meetings". The "Winter Meetings" are the meetings that take place in December and that generally is where deals start to be finalized with free agents and trades are made.

The general manager meetings that take place this week often serve as the appetizer to the "Winter Meetings" in December as this is the week where groundwork is laid in terms of teams registering interest in free agents and laying the groundwork for potential trades with other teams.

After the Cubs hiring of Counsell, the focus has shifted to what is next for the team.

Chicago Cubs believed to be the most aggressive team for Shohei Ohtani.

It's always fun when these meetings occur during the off-season as they often take place on the West Coast and that leads to many rumors breaking overnight.

That was the case when Bob Nightengale of USA Today offered the latest on the market for top free agent Shohei Ohtani.

"So now, they’ll take their chances and compete with the big boys. The Dodgers remain the heavy favorites. The Chicago Cubs and Rangers are serious contenders, with several GMs saying that the Cubs may be the most aggressive team for his services. And it would be foolish to count out the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets or even San Francisco Giants."

USA Today

Look, the Cubs have already proven that the impossible is possible this off-season when they hired Counsell to be their manager. There would be an equal amount of shock if the Cubs were able to sign Ohtani this off-season. That is not to say that they shouldn't but spending the amount of money it would cost to sign Ohtani is not something the Cubs haven't shown comfort in doing before. However, paying Counsell $8MM per season would suggest that nothing is off the table for the team.

New York Yankees expressing early interest in Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs remain a serious threat.

Entering the off-season, it seemed common knowledge that the New York Yankees would pose the biggest threat to the Cubs and their efforts of bringing Cody Bellinger back on a long-term deal.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported on Tuesday night that the Yankees have already expressed an interest in Bellinger but also had this to say about the Cubs' chances of bringing back the 2023 National League Comeback Player of the Year.

"The competition for Bellinger’s services will be keen, and the incumbent Cubs, who made the deal of the winter signing him for $16.5 million for 2023, will be a formidable combatant. Word is, he loved his year there."

New York Post

There is no question that plan A for the Cubs' off-season likely includes Bellinger being brought back on a long-term deal. There are varying degrees of likelihood of that happening depending on what Bellinger's next contract will look like. The Cubs will have a ceiling on their interest in bringing back Bellinger and if a team like the Yankees wants to submit an offer that completely flips his market, he will not be back on the North Side.

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