Cubs rumors: Ohtani interest is extremely real, Bellinger likelihood, backup plans in-line?

From the MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville, here are some of the latest rumors surrounding the Chicago Cubs, Shohei Ohtani and Cody Bellinger

Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger
Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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NASHVILLE — As the MLB Winter Meetings gear up in Music City, Shohei Ohtani will likely dominate many of the conversations around free agency and where the Japanese superstar (and other players through a domino effect) likely end up in 2024. With that in mind, let's jump into some of the latest Chicago Cubs rumors.

Chicago Cubs rumors: Ohtani's decision could come soon

According to a social media post from MLB insider Jon Morosi, Ohtani "is likely to decide on a team within the next week, according to one source engaged with the top end of the free-agent market." If that is the case, that means that one team will walk away with the prize of the offseason while others who are still in the running for Ohtani will have to pivot to other players.

More on the second point regarding the Cubs in a moment, but let's emphasize that all rumors are still pointing to the Cubs very much being in the mix to land Ohtani. In his weekly column for USA Today on Sunday, MLB insider Bob Nightengale linked Chicago's aggressiveness already this offseason in luring Craig Counsell away from the Milwaukee Brewers as proof that all chips were being pushed to the center of the table when it came to improving the Cubs in 2024. That includes making every effort to land Ohtani.

Yes, the Cubs are one of a handful of teams still in the running, and many believe the Los Angeles Dodgers to be the favorite to land Ohtani. However, make no mistake that the Cubs are serious in their pursuit of the most talked-about free agent of the winter.