Shohei Ohtani's $700MM deal with Dodgers confirms Chicago Cubs' exclusion

As more details surface regarding the contract structure of Shohei Ohtani's deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, it's clear the Cubs were never involved.

Aug 23, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17)
Aug 23, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

We're going to break the fourth wall at the start of this story as a way to provide insight into what the thinking was when the Chicago Cubs were first mentioned to be preparing to pursue Shohei Ohtani.

During the second half of the season, there was reporting that the Cubs were preparing a pursuit of Ohtani. The reaction here was that of course the Cubs would be preparing a pursuit. It's Shohei Ohtani, at the very least, there has to be a conversation.

Still, the expectation was that Ohtani was pegged for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani was not a prevalent name in the Cubs' rumor mill at the start of the off-season. It was not until the week of Thanksgiving that the Cubs were mentioned as a "finalist" for Ohtani. There was also a shift in local reporting that made it seem that the Cubs, at that point, believed they were heavily involved in the bidding. With the change in local tune, admittedly, the idea of the Cubs signing Ohtani began to creep in.

The idea was dismantled during the Winter Meetings. Despite the secrecy that was Ohtani's free agency process, it became clear at the Winter Meetings that the Cubs made the realization that they were not involved in Ohtani's decision.

That was confirmed on Saturday when Ohtani announced that he was signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The deal was first reported to be worth $700MM over the course of the next 10 seasons. In the days since, reporting has clarified the context of the deal. Ohtani's deal is structured in a way that $680MM of the $700MM will not actually be paid by the Dodgers during the first 10 seasons. Instead, the deferred $680MM will begin to be paid to Ohtani in 2034.

Beyond the deferrals, Ohtani's deal is also structured to allow him to opt out of the deal if the Dodgers have a change in ownership or president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman leaves the organization.

It's become clear that Ohtani was set on joining the Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays were used as leverage for the final offer. To that end, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported that Ohtani never seriously considered the Cubs.

So, there you have it, the belief we had when the Ohtani rumors first surfaced with the Cubs this past summer was true. This should also confirm that the Cubs' primary off-season plans have not been altered based on the results of this past week.

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