The Chicago Cubs look like they will not be getting the services of two-time AL MVP Shohei Ohtani.
The latest report has Ohtani ready to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ohtani reportedly met with the Blue Jays last Monday at their Spring Training facility in Florida. There was hope that this news leaking out would eliminate the Jays from contention in signing the best free agent this offseason based on Shohei’s desire for secrecy in the recruiting process.
Maybe the appeal of being a superstar in Canada was enough to forgive the Blue Jays for letting the report come out.
It looks like the Blue Jays have overtaken the Los Angeles Dodgers as the favorite to sign the two-way superstar.
There is a chance the deal could fall through as Ohtani still has to get through the medical review process. Plus, nothing has been officially announced.
This means the Chicago Cubs have missed out on acquiring another superstar this offseason.
The Cubs were reportedly interested in trading for Juan Soto. The New York Yankees ended up putting together a trade package that the San Diego Padres went with. To be fair, we do not know if the Cubs made an offer. In addition, Soto would have been a luxury as the Cubbies are set at left field with Ian Happ.
Losing out on Ohtani is going to hit differently.
This would have put baseball’s three best box office draws together–the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and Ohtani hitting home runs over the Wrigley Field Ivy.
It would have also been another indication that the Cubs are going all in on owning the NL Central for the next decade while contending for a World Series.
The Cubs are also reportedly not going to be a landing spot for Ohtani’s fellow countryman, Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The second-best free agent appears headed to New York. He just has to decide between the Yankees or the Mets as they are the frontrunners with the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and the Blue Jays also in the mix.
We do know the Cubs are out of the Yamamoto sweepstakes.
Expectations had the Chicago Cubs being major players in the free agent market after they lured manager Craig Counsell away from the Milwaukee Brewers.
It appears Counsell will be the only major move this offseason with the recent news regarding Soto, Ohtani, and Yamamoto.
That still does not mean the Cubs will lose the offseason.
They can still make a play for third baseman Matt Chapman. He instantly upgrades the lineup there.
The Northsiders can still pull off a trade for Cleveland Guardians ace Shane Bieber or the Tampa Bay Rays Tyler Glansow. Landing those top-of-the-rotation pitchers is an improvement over Marcus Stroman.
It is not like the Cubs do not have the farm system to make some moves at the in-season trade deadline.
Still, nothing would have kept the excitement of this offseason going quite like Ohtani coming to play on the Northside of Chicago. At least the fanbase can finally get off this emotional roller coaster pursuit of him.