The Chicago Cubs were not the winning bidder for Shohei Ohtani.
The Los Angeles Dodgers came through with the winning offer for baseball’s best free agent and biggest draw at the gate. The deal Ohtani got is massive.
Ohtani is switching from Los Angeles’ American League team to its National League club on a 10-year, 700-million-dollar deal.
This announcement ends one of the most secretive yet strangest free-agent pursuits in recent memory.
This was because of Ohtani’s desire for secrecy during the courting process. Teams desiring Ohtani had to play by his rules and that meant no leaks getting out as teams feared repercussions from Shohei’s camp.
The Dodgers front office even scolded manager Dave Roberts for confirming a meeting the club had with Ohtani.
It also led to a lot of insiders desperate for any information even if turned out to be incorrect.
Chicago Cubs team president Jed Hoyer had a tense exchange with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale at the MLB Winter Meetings over his report that the Cubs were out of the running for Ohtani.
Friday’s reporting got out of hand as MLB Network insider Jon Morosi reported that Ohtani was on his way to Toronto with a high chance of signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. People were tracking a private plane believed to be taking Ohtani to Canada to sign with the club. Turns out the plane was carrying Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec. Other insiders confirmed that Ohtani was not traveling to Canada to sign with the Blue Jays and Morosi had to tweet out a retraction.
At least the Ohtani pursuit is over. Although, we will never know how close the Cubs got to signing Ohtani or if they ever met with him.
It also stinks to not having Ohtani on the Northside for 81 games a year. Shohei would have been amazing hitting home runs over the Wrigley Field Ivy. He still will get to do that, only on a limited basis wearing a Dodgers’ uniform.
All hope is not lost. The Cubs can still pursue free-agent third baseman Matt Chapman to upgrade third base. Guardians pitching ace Shane Bieber is still rumored to be available on the trade market.
Juan Soto, who the Chicago Cubs were reportedly interested in acquiring before the New York Yankees traded for him, will be a free agent next offseason. The Cubs can always pursue that generational talent then.
It is also nice to know that $700 million is not clogging up the payroll for a decade.
The club still has a stacked farm system to reinforce the roster or be used to pull off some big trades. Still, this news of Ohtani staying in LA, only with the Dodgers, is not great. At least this crazy pursuit is over.