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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Chicago Cubs rumors: Back-up plans in case of an Ohtani miss

As mentioned earlier, the Cubs are expected to quickly pivot if they fall out of the race to land Ohtani. And, yes, Ohtani's decision will impact several other free agents on the market who are likely going to be pursued much more once he makes his call on where he will spend the next portion of his MLB career.

In a recent article from The Athletic (subscription required), Sahadev Sharma wrote that it's likely the Cubs (and other teams, as is customary) have told backup free agents to wait, both sides planning contingently on possible fallout moves if a certain big piece, like Ohtani, doesn't come to bear.

With the Cubs being one of the teams seen as a "spender" this offseason, free agents could hold out a little longer to see Ohtani's fate and how that impacts their own potential future at Wrigley Field. If Ohtani signs with the Cubs, they can move on to other teams. If Ohtani doesn't, Chicago and its likely aggressive nature is still very much in play for some of the top names available. And, yes, that still likely includes Cody Bellinger, who could know his potential fate much more after Ohtani signs than before.

Could Bellinger still be back in Chicago? Let's talk about the latest we are hearing on that.