The Rundown: Time to Get Ohtani Deal Done, Counsell Seen As Extension of Front Office, PCA Rookie of the Year Candidate

Happy Black Friday to those who partake. Instead of shopping, I use this day to try a new beer, and this year’s selection is Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA. I’ve heard nothing but great things and I’m enjoying the delicious brew as I write this.

That said, this space is more of a gathering of baseball minds than a bibulous fraternity, so let’s turn to the hot stove with a specific emphasis on Chicago’s North Side baseballers. Have we published enough articles that mention Shohei Ohtani here at Cubs Insider? The correct answer would be “It’s never enough,” at least until he signs elsewhere or holds his presser at 1060 W. Addison. I have a strong hunch the two-way superstar will retire as a Chicago Cub after a long and fruitful career in royal blue pinstripes.

I have no tangible evidence and I’m not basing it on Jon Heyman’s Thanksgiving piece, but I’d put those odds as significantly better than that of Sammy Sosa returning to Chicago with the blessing of Tom Ricketts. The grassroots campaign to bring Sosa back is intensifying, and there may be no better way to silence those barbarians at the gate than by bringing in the one superstar who would make all that buzz completely dissipate. Can you picture Ohtani trying on that Cubs cap and jersey while sitting between Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins? I can, and it’s chill-inducing.

Sosa was Chicago’s last great superstar but is now a pariah because the league has shunned the PED freaks it once encouraged to boost lagging post-strike attendance and television viewership. Ohtani is naturally gifted, as far as we know, and is capable of shifting the past, present, and future landscape of Cubs baseball. The competition to sign the Japanese unicorn is reportedly down to the Dodgers and your beloved North Siders, but you can bet the farm a mystery team will emerge. It won’t be the Giants, Padres, Mets, or Yankees, but don’t discount the Angels.

I’d say the Cubs are 3-to-1 favorites to win the grand prize this offseason, and I’ll bet Ohtani signs a new contract before the end of this year’s Winter Meetings, if not sooner. The fast-paced, rumor-heavy conference of baseball’s executives, agents, players, coaches, and insiders takes place in Nashville from December 4-7. The Cubs Convention starts on January 12, 2024, by the way. Circle both dates on your calendar. I truly believe every Cubs fan will have reason to celebrate Ohtani, unless you prefer Hoyer signs Josh Hader and Matt Chapman instead.

A Ghost Runner of a Chance

Let me depart with one last tidbit before I turn fantasy into reality. If you remember last year at this time, Hoyer was reportedly trying to sign two of the heralded group of shortstops. Money is always a consideration but it was not the concern that moving one to third base was. With that in mind, I believe there is at least some validity to the Bo Bichette rumors.

Trading for Bichette would not prevent Hoyer from signing Ohtani and possibly Yoshinobu Yamamoto, though I think Tyler Glasnow, Sonny Gray, or Kenta Maeda are more realistic pitching options. The odds of Ohtani, Bichette, and Yamamoto all playing at Wrigley Field are astronomical, but it’s fun to dream about nonetheless, and that’s what the hot stove is all about anyway.

You don’t go fishing for minnows when ownership encourages you to spend money, you know what I mean?

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

If you’ve already given up on Pete Crow-Armstrong please turn in your Cubs Insider library card and read a different blog. PCA is still the team’s top Rookie of the Year candidate for 2024.

Central Intelligence

Friday Stove

The Yankees are believed to be among the favorites to sign Cody Bellinger and Jordan Montgomery and trade for Soto.

Some MLB executives believe Ohtani will become an everyday outfielder at some point in his career.

Everybody loves a Black Friday bargain, and Jacob Stallings, Travis Jankowski, Cole Waites, and Freddy Pacheco could be the steals of the season.

At least 10 teams have checked in on Yamamoto, and his agent said it’s the most interest he’s ever received for one of his clients.

The White Sox signed infielder Paul DeJong.

The Diamondbacks acquired third baseman Eugenio Suárez from the Mariners for catcher Seby Zavala and Minor League right-hander Carlos Vargas.

I would love to see Javier Báez traded to the Red Sox, one of six hypothetical trades from

The Dodgers are baseball’s top destination for free agents. I agree the news cycle is awfully slow right now.

Extra Innings

I’ll enjoy Wrigley Winter Wonderland for the first time if I can make it to Chicago next Saturday evening. As I mentioned previously, I will be attending the Mariah Carey show the next day and I’m looking forward to both experiences. It would be kinda cool if Danny Rockett held his caroling even that night, too. What parody song should Danny write to entice Shohei to come to Chicago? How about “Ohtani Night?”

“Ohtani night, the Wrigley lights are shining…” You get it.

Sliding Into Home

I spent Thanksgiving alone due to scheduling conflicts so do me a favor and post pictures of your holiday feasts in the comments section.

They Said It

  • “[Counsell] was Doug Melvin’s special assistant for a couple of years (in Milwaukee). I frankly thought he was going to be the GM there, not the manager. I don’t think there’s many people in the game like him. I know a handful of them. Craig Breslow is one who just left here, A.J. Hinch is a friend of mine. Guys you feel like they could have gone either path, they could go be a GM or go be a manager. There’s not many people in both camps.” – Hoyer

Friday Walk-Up Song

I like this song and that’s all that matters.

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