Shohei Ohtani is one of the most intriguing prospects to ever make his way from overseas to Major League Baseball. He is known as the “Japanse Babe Ruth” and the sky is the limit from a potential standpoint. That has made almost every team in baseball pursue him this offseason, although there are only seven teams left with a chance to sign him.
According to a report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs are the final seven teams with a chance to meet with Ohtani and try to convince him that they are his best option.
Needless to say, Ohtani has an interest in playing on the west coast. That has been one of the key factors that have kept the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox away from being front-runners to sign him. Texas and Chicago are not west coast teams, but they are his only exceptions to that desire.
Chicago certainly would make a lot of sense as a team with interest in Ohtani. They are about to lose both Jake Arrieta and John Lackey in free agency. Joe Maddon is also the type of manager that could utilize Ohtani perfectly and give him the chance to be a key player for a championship contending team.
All of that being said, what five reasons can be given to support the statement that Ohtani should sign with the Cubs over the other six teams interested?
As we touched on briefly, Maddon has always been the type of manager to utilize his players to the best of their abilities. He is not scared to put players in positions that they don’t normally play, which is where the Cubs could have an advantage. Ohtani wants to pitch and bat, which the Cubs could allow him to do by playing him in the outfield on days that he isn’t pitching.
Chicago Is Set Up Long-Term
There are very few teams in baseball with the same kind of long-term future that the Cubs have. They have a lot of talented bats locked up long-term and adding Ohtani to that mix would work perfectly. Ohtani would likely be intrigued by the massive amount of young talent that the Cubs have on their major league roster.
Three Straight NLCS Appearances
Chicago has been one of the most consistently good teams in baseball in recent history. They have made it to three straight NLCS series’ and are projected to be one of the best teams in baseball again next year. That will be appealing to Ohtani and a major selling point for the Cubs.
Top-Notch Front Office
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are one of the top front office duos in baseball. Ever since coming to the Cubs, Epstein has done an excellent job of bringing in talent and building a contender. Ohtani is looking for a stable front office and it doesn’t get much better than the Cubs.
Perfect Fit Into a Strong Rotation
Even if the Cubs are unable to sign Ohtani, they still have a strong top three arms in their rotation. Jose Quintana, Jon Lester, and Kyle Hendricks are all capable No. 1 starters if needed. Ohtani would fit in perfectly with them and would give the Cubs one of the strongest rotations in baseball yet again in 2018.
Expect to see Ohtani make a decision at some point in the near future. Chicago may not end up being able to convince him to sign, but they certainly look like a perfect fit for the Japanese star.