I am absolutely loving the drip-drip of Shohei Ohtani tidbits this week. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve been awfully pro–Cubs, but still. It’s just such a fun, important story to be following anyway, and I like that we’re getting little morsels on the regular.
I think you’re going to like this one, too.
Mark Feinsand polled an anonymous group of 14 executives this week about where they think Shohei Ohtani will land in free agency, and, as expected, the overwhelming majority said he’d wind up with the Los Angeles Dodgers. We know they have the geographic advantage, they have plenty of money, they seemingly structured LAST offseason around this chase, and they are a historic franchise that always wins in the regular season. Personally, I still feel like they are at like 80% to get him.
BUT! BUT! 80% is not 100%, and here’s what one of the executives said:
“One NL executive who picked the Dodgers believes their greatest competition will not come from another West Coast team, but rather a team that made headlines this week with its managerial hire.
‘He doesn’t seem to be driven by money, so I don’t think it’s just dollars,’ the NL exec said. ‘I think it’s all about fit for him. I think the Cubs will push hard for him.'”
The Cubs have been rumored to want to make a sincere push for Ohtani going back to before his elbow injury, and again after. While I cannot tell you that we know they are actually the 1B option to the Dodgers’ 1A right now, I can say that, this week, they were certainly the team most frequently connected to that 1B slot. I think there is going to be a serious effort here from the Cubs to get a seat at the table, make a deep and involved presentation, and try to tap into whatever it is that Ohtani really wants for the next 10 years of his life.
All we can do is hope that, whatever the allure of the Dodgers, that’s just not what Ohtani is into. And that he’s OK with playing in the Midwest, rather than the West Coast. And that maybe the Dodgers surprise everyone and don’t make the biggest offer. And so on and so forth.
It starts with just getting the foot in the door, and then the Cubs have to sell-sell-sell their future.