The MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennesse have been a roller coaster of emotions for Chicago Cubs fans as they've been rumored in, then out, then back in again on Shohei Ohtani and other big players. In terms of actual moves though, things have been moving at a glacial pace. As teams await the destination of the two-way superstar and Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, everyone appears to be in a holding pattern.
That's very much the case for the Cubs who have only made one signing so far this year - reliever Edwin Escobar. An influx of rumors about Rhys Hoskins and Tyler Glasnow made it seem the team could pull something off even as they remain enamored with Ohtani. Unfortunately, that likely won't be the case according to team President Jed Hoyer.
In between debunking rumors and having "stern words" with reporter Bob Nightengale, Hoyer gave some insight into the Cubs' process during the Winter Meetings. Obviously, he can't say much about Ohtani - or any free agent, for that matter - but he did reveal that there are plenty of conversations happening behind closed doors. Don't bet on any of those discussions leading anywhere before they have to depart Nashville, though.
On the one hand, it's not surprising that the Cubs could leave the Winter Meetings empty-handed. Save for Erick Fedde, a surprise trade by the Mariners and Braves to open things up, and the recent Red Sox-Yankees deal for Alex Verdugo, nothing has happened for any teams other than the occasional whisper. Ohtani and Yamamoto's decisions are gumming up the works for everyone and, if the Cubs are still in on Ohtani, it's only natural that their focus is elsewhere.
It's also a bit disappointing when considering the context of the Winter Meetings. This part of the calendar is always circled as the time for big moves and paradigm shifts in the league. For the Cubs specifically, some moves theoretically could be made without jeopardizing the Ohtani pursuit too, like the aforementioned Hoskins and Glasnow. The reality seems to be, however, that this will be an unusual, delayed offseason because of who's available.
Cubs have no reason to rush things - at least not yet
If the market were moving around them, it would be concerning to see the Cubs standing pat throughout the Winter Meetings. That just isn't happening, though - all of their top targets and fallbacks are still on the board and, more importantly, don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. All of these players understand that there's a heavier bag of cash waiting for them if they wait out Ohtani and Yamamoto.
All there is to do now is hope that the conversations the Cubs are having during the meetings are productive and pave the way for exciting deals down the road. Whether that means an Ohtani or Yamamoto signing, a Glasnow trade, or something else entirely, all that matters is that they come into 2024 a clearly better team than last year. Patience is required, Cubs fans.