MLB insider reports Shota Imanaga left monster contract on the table to choose Cubs

More details are emerging on the agreement between the Chicago Cubs and Shota Imanaga.

Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) delivers a pitch during
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) delivers a pitch during / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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There was an element of surprise on Tuesday night when it was first reported that the Chicago Cubs reached an agreement on a deal with Japanese starting pitcher Shota Imanaga.

Reporting prior news of the deal was that the Cubs were getting ready to bow out of the sweepstakes for Imanaga. This was due to the idea that the market for Imanaga was trending toward the Japanese starting pitcher landing a five-year deal in the range of $100MM.

The early word is that the Cubs' deal with Imanaga is complicated.

Despite the complexity of the deal, it would seem that Imanaga chose the fit with the Cubs over a monster contract.

MLB insider Jon Heyman joined 670 The Score on Wednesday morning and reported that Imanaga had at least one offer on the table that was double the commitment that the Cubs' made.

This is an encouraging sign for the Cubs during an off-season where Jed Hoyer has drawn criticism for his ability to convince top free agents to sign in Chicago. The Cubs were an afterthought in the sweepstakes for Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto but still have appeal as a team that players want to play for. Of course, the fact that Seiya Suzuki has become a fixture in the Cubs' outfield probably did not hurt their chances with Imanaga.

The contract should also provide insight into how the Cubs view themselves. It's clear that the Cubs are still stung by the lack of return-on-investment from the free-agent deal they made with Jason Heyward in 2015 and they want to make sure they have an out with Imanaga in case the deal goes bad. That is a sign of a team that does believe they have a contention window set to open but that it may not be fully open within the next season.

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