By Ron Johnson
With the MLB offseason in full swing, there are teams that are definitely trying to find solutions to their woes. The Rangers bought in on everything to cash out and lay claim to the World Series pennant for the first time ever, so now every team is going to try to follow this formula to the promised land.
But the biggest story of the offseason is the same story that was red-hot in the middle of the regular season: Shohei Ohtani. The dual-threat has officially become a free agent, and every team is looking to the stars to try to acquire the services of the Japanese sensation.
Now while Ohtani has not hinted at anyone peaking his interests, the list of teams trying to get him is beyond a mile long. What we can decipher through all the madness is the Dodgers, Mets, Angels, Blue Jays, Giants, Red Sox and Yankees are making massive power plays to get him in their unis by Spring Training or Opening Day.
But there is one team I didn’t even expect to be added to this list: The Chicago Cubs?
Yes, the Cubs are in the hunt for Ohtani once again as they were six years ago, prior to DH being available for both American and National League. One of the main reasons that the Cubs are being touted as the overall winners of this possibility is bringing in former Brewers skipper Craig Counsell to replace David Ross. Counsell has been a proven commodity and proven winner in his time with Milwaukee, but it just seemed like he would never be able to get over the hump.
With Counsell at the helm, the Cubs are dead serious about getting themselves back in the driver’s seat of the division as well as back to the World Series for the first time since 2016.
Another reason the Cubs are looking like the frontrunner for Ohtani is their ability to improve at the snap of a finger. Bear in mind that this was a team that was on the outside looking in back at the end of July only to turn around and slide into a wild card spot in September. With Ohtani in the lineup, not only would the team improve dramatically, but their OPS would increase in bunches (Cubs were ranked 20th last season with an OPS of .731). And with most of the Cubs’ top guys being position players, Ohtani can legit focus on being a DH before returning to his pitching duties in ’25.
One of the biggest reasons that Chicago could be a good selling point for Ohtani is three simple words: Location, Location, Location. Now as a fan of the Cubs’ biggest rival, the Cardinals. I have been to Wrigley Field a few times and enjoyed the look and feel of it. I cannot bring myself to saying anything bad about that ballpark. And coming from a Cardinals fan, that says a lot.
Wrigley Field has always been a hitter’s paradise when you think about it. Great winds, great reach and great potential is what makes Chicago the perfect landing spot for Ohtani as a DH.