A headline befitting the absurdity of the Cubs’ total inability to spend this offseason, even if I will continue to say I *understand* the reasons. I wouldn’t ask anyone else to like it, and I don’t particularly want to like it either, especially when it means they can’t even land a perfect fit like Shogo Akiyama.
Dueling reports this week out of Japan appear to have a favorite out there to sign Akiyama, and neither report has the Cubs in front.
Obviously we’re relying heavily on Google translate here, but this report indicates there were four teams involved in negotiations – the Cubs, Reds, Rays, and Diamondbacks – and indicates the Reds are the favorite, with negotiations expected to accelerate after Christmas:
秋山の移籍先最有力レッズ浮上 複数年で大型契約か https://t.co/UO2O31a7LE
— ふくださん (@fukudasun) December 25, 2019
Then you’ve got this report, which – perhaps confused? – basically says all the same stuff, but has the Padres as the team very likely to land Akiyama:
Obligatory grain of salt: Google translate of latest out of Japan seems to indicate Padres are suddenly now favorite for Shogo Akiyama, despite an abundance of outfielders (trade on the way?). Bonus props for #BigMood on why Cubs speculated out. https://t.co/PLWCWGw8Un pic.twitter.com/6I1yX1VJN3
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 25, 2019
As you can see, there’s specific discussion of Padres players, so the article definitely intended to talk about the Padres … which aren’t even listed as a finalist in the other article. But did a reporter get the wrong team name, perhaps, and then start digging in on the Padres, but was supposed to be looking at the Reds?
Nikkan Sports is usually pretty reliable, and it’s also the slightly more recent report. So, you can surmise that it probably is the Reds that Akiyama’s reps are most seriously negotiating with.
Either way, it ain’t the Cubs, who simply cannot possibly add a $4 or $5 million AAV to the books right now, not until a great deal of salary is first moved out … and the biggest possible chunk of that, Kris Bryant’s, is held up by a service time grievance. So the Cubs continue to work hard behind the scenes, I’m sure, but in the results department, it’s effectively the same as sitting on their duffs. D’oh!