Latest update on Shota Imanaga is encouraging for the Chicago Cubs

With his posting window closing on Thursday, Shota Imanaga remains in play for the Chicago Cubs.

Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) pitches against the USA
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) pitches against the USA / Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
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There have been conflicting reports on the level of interest that the Chicago Cubs have in Japanese starting pitcher Shota Imanaga in recent days with it seeming on the local level that the Cubs may not be a likely suitor given the trend of contract talks but nationally, the North Siders remain in the mix.

Imanaga's posting window is set to close on Thursday so the expectation is that we will hear news of signing with a Major League team within the next 24 hours.

To that end, the Cubs get mentioned along with the Boston Red Sox in the update that Jon Heyman had on Imanaga's sweepstakes on Tuesday.

This does create an interesting dynamic for the Cubs considering Craig Breslow departed the team's front office this off-season to lead the baseball operations of the Red Sox. There has also been speculation that the Red Sox may need to cut payroll before making another splash in free agency, which could lead to the two teams being trade partners.

Mark Feinsand of MLB dot com reported on Monday night that all signs point to the San Francisco Giants being the team to sign Imanaga.

The belief has been that Imanaga could fetch a five-year deal worth $100MM and that would seem to be right at the line to where the Cubs are comfortable with making a pact with a free-agent starting pitcher. It's also likely that the Cubs' current offer is not at that level, which is why Imanaga may be waiting for a higher offer from either the Red Sox or Giants before deciding.

While Imanaga would not slot at the top of the Cubs' rotation, he could stabilize the middle behind Justin Steele and Jameson Taillon. At the very least, the Cubs need to add one starting pitcher this off-season, and of all the free-agent options, Imanaga has always been their likeliest target.

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