No one seems to have much beyond informed speculation when it comes to Shohei Ohtani, so apply all necessary caveats to this latest report. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who cited a high-ranking executive, the “Cubs’ optimism of landing Shohei Ohtani has significantly waned.” If true, that seems to leave the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels as the finalists.
The Chicago Cubs’ optimism of landing Shohei Ohtani has now significantly waned, one high-ranking executive said, leaving the LA Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants as the likely finalists.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 5, 2023
A lot of people might actually flip this all the way around given the source, which is a running joke based on Nightengale’s frequent ability to manifest the opposite of what he predicts. And while I don’t put a great deal of faith in this update, I don’t think it’s the least bit unreasonable for the Cubs to have fallen behind in the Ohtani sweepstakes.
If that ends up being the case, Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins have got their work cut out for them when it comes to building a competitive roster. Hawkins spoke on Monday about targeting short-term free agents who won’t block their top prospects, though they’ll still need to boost the offense and add a little star power in order to take another step forward.
More to come.