5 Shohei Ohtani free-agent frontrunners that meet all of his wishlist items

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Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Cubs emerging as a true favorite

There was once a time when the Chicago Cubs were rarely mentioned as a destination for Shohei Ohtani this offseason. They aren't a West Coast team, had struggled a bit prior to the 2023 season and just didn't seem to check the necessary boxes. Things have evolved rather quickly, though, and so has the Cubs-Ohtani situation.

As of late, the Cubs have loosely been called one of the two favorites to sign Ohtani this offseason, including a report that the organization is already preparing a lucrative offer. Now, given that the Japanese superstar is looking for relative secrecy, that might not be in Chicago's favor, but there have also not been any leaks about meetings, figures, or true details -- so we're not thinking that the Cubs are breaking that wishlist "rule" just yet.

For the rest of the items on the wishlist, though, the Cubs check the boxes. Though they faltered late, this was nearly a playoff team out of the National League a year ago. What happens with Cody Bellinger and Marcus Stroman this offseason could affect their long-term outlook, but the front office has shown a willingness to spend and be a bit aggressive to improve the roster, something that would likely only further increase with the addition of Ohtani.

And the Chicago market is a star-maker. We've seen it time and again that Cubs stars get thrust into the spotlight, especially if they have the unquestionable talent on the diamond to back it up, which we obviously know that Ohtani does. It's looking more and more like there is a lot of merit to the reports that the Cubs are a legitimate leading candidate to win this sweepstakes given all of this.