The Chicago Cubs should absolutely not trade for Shohei Ohtani

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Although we’re still over a week away from the start of the 2022 World Series, the MLB rumor mill has already begun to churn around the Chicago Cubs.

Almost immediately after returning to his native Japan, Los Angels Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani turned heads with his comments in regards to the Angels season, a year in which he said he has a “negative impression” of how things played out.

And almost immediately after the comments surfaced, rumors began to swirl around potential trade partners with many fans clamoring for the Chicago Cubs to go after Ohtani.

Although Shohei could be argued to be the best player in baseball right now, a trade with the Angels would not make any sense for the Cubs. Yes, that’s right. The Cubs should not trade for Shohei Ohtani.

Although any trade for Ohtani would undoubtedly make the Cubs a better team on both sides of the ball (or really all three), it could be a devastating blow to the team’s championship hopes in the near future.

Ohtani and the Angels recently reached an agreement on a $30 million deal for the 2023 season which will be his last before hitting free agency. It was the largest deal in arbitration history. But it’s not the money that makes the deal unwise for the Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs should not trade for Shohei Ohtani during the offseason.

In reality, there’s not a dollar amount too large for Shohei Ohtani (unless you’re the Ricketts family). But any trade for the versatile superstar would certainly require the Cubs to give up both Major League and farm system talent.

After numerous years of a weak farm system while the Cubs attempted to contend for a World Series, the team finally has a top-ten farm system in baseball. But what they don’t have is a top-ten team at Wrigley Field.

Unfortunately, one player won’t make them top-ten. Not only that, it would essentially decimate the farm system, eliminating any chances of the Cubs contending in the mid-2020s.

And while there remains hope that the Cubs spend money this offseason, it’s hard to believe that whatever they do spend would ultimately be enough to contend for anything more than a Wild Card or a shot at a division championship.

That’s not to say that there couldn’t be playoff baseball at Wrigley Field in 2023. Rather, there should be Chicago Cubs playoff baseball next year.

With an already weak NL Central and an expanded playoff bracket that sees 40% of MLB teams reach the postseason, it would be a disappointment for the Cubs to end up short of the playoffs.

Alas, now is not the time to make a splash at the trade deadline. At least not for a 3-month rental that they could just as easily sign prior to 2024, keep the farm system intact, and avoid sacrificing any major league or top prospect talent.

Perhaps this could change should the Cubs be performing well at next year’s trade deadline. But for now, the team must stay on course and sign as much talent this offseason to contend for next year.

It also could make sense if the Cubs are able to negotiate a sign-and-trade with a long-term extension attached to Ohtani but it’s highly unlikely that he doesn’t hit free agency for his own reasons.

Cubs fans think of last year as 2014. The Cubs showed some promise (and even finished above .500 for the second half of the season) and while the team was hard to watch, they’re now in a legitimate spot to return to the playoffs next year.

They could have a bright future ahead with the right moves. Unfortunately, Shohei Ohtani is not one of those moves. At least not until after November 2023.

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