Cubs ‘Will Continue to Be Aggressive’ in Shohei Ohtani Pursuit, Could Get Creative with Contract Options

I’m going to be really honest here right out of the gate: None of what follows is particularly new or novel, so I’ll keep it short. Given the Cubs’ ability to avoid leaks and Shohei Ohtani‘s desire for privacy, we may not have any real details until after he signs. In the meantime, however, we’ll get plenty of speculative snippets with more than a few reports of suspect veracity.

You can pretty much assume news citing information from sources in the Cubs organization is either blatantly false or just trumped-up nothing-burgers. So what’s different about the latest from 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine? Not a whole lot, actually.

Levine noted that sources tell him the Cubs “will continue to be aggressive in their pursuit of [Ohtani],” adding that they “plan to be all in on the Ohtani pursuit until the end.” That tracks with his previous report that it was pretty much just the Cubs and Dodgers at the top of the list, so this is another way to say more of the same thing.

When it comes to the potential contract offer(s), nothing is definitive. It’s obvious to anyone who’s paid even the slightest bit of attention that Ohtani is going to command a massive contract unlike any we’ve seen, whether it’s in total value or astronomical AAV for a shorter deal. Levine wrote that the Cubs “will be prepared to pounce” on the latter type of offer and “would likely be willing” to include an opt-out, all of which seems like a given.

Not that it’s all about money for a guy who has previously chosen to take way less to come over to MLB and who prizes both fit and competitiveness. As we’ve noted many times, money is more of a formality in this whole process. It’s still very real, of course, especially when it comes to ownership’s willingness to pony up as much money for one player as they have for the top three contracts in club history combined.

Jason Heyward, Dansby Swanson, and Jon Lester were guaranteed a total of $516 million, a figure Ohtani could very possibly exceed. Tom Ricketts might see that as a bargain if Ohtani indeed ends up being worth the $100 million he generated for the Angels on an annual basis. If that number is accurate, the Cubs would easily reap a much larger benefit than they’d have to pay in salary.

Apologies to those who feel this has all gotten a bit masturbatory, but we’re just doing what we can to keep tabs on the saga until it reaches a conclusion.

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