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
3 of 3

Are Chicago Cubs and Cody Bellinger done?

The simple answer is no, but it might take a series of events for Bellinger to actually return to the home clubhouse inside Wrigley Field next season.

Sharma discussed this in the article linked previously, laying out the case of why Scott Boras may have a lot to do with Bellinger's location in 2024. The one-year "prove it" deal Bellinger signed with the Cubs did what it was supposed to do for both parties. The Cubs benefited from Bellinger's presence and the former National League MVP proved to the Cubs (and plenty of other teams) that he was still an offensive threat.

Now comes the result of that win-win scenario. The Cubs would love to have Bellinger back, but Boras is going to make sure that his client gets top dollar wherever he lands. Who offers that top dollar remains to be seen, because some of the teams interested in Bellinger are also in on the Ohtani chase as well (including the Cubs).

Sharma, however, sees a potential scenario where all teams balk at the high price set by Boras and could wait out the agent's demands, forcing Bellinger to sign a shorter, smaller deal than originally envisioned. If that's the case, the Cubs could be there waiting with an offer that could work for both sides.

So, yes, the Cubs will need to have a backup plan (which could be Bellinger) if they miss out on Ohtani, and also plans that could be enabled if they miss out on both players. The latter would be tough for the Cubs at first, but, if that happens, expect Jed Hoyer and his front office team to quickly pivot and stay aggressive throughout the offseason.