Cubs

Shohei Ohtani reportedly wants to play in a smaller market and on the West Coast, so what's that mean for the Cubs?

Shohei Ohtani reportedly wants to play in a smaller market and on the West Coast, so what's that mean for the Cubs?

The biggest fish in baseball's offseason pond made some waves Sunday evening.

According to multiple reports, the New York Yankees are out of the running for Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese import who dazzles as both a pitcher and a hitter. That was big enough news regarding Ohtani, but some additional details being reported could have a big impact on the Cubs' pursuit.

Apparently, Ohtani is telling teams he prefers to play for a smaller-market team, and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is saying that Ohtani wants to play on the West Coast, too, which lines up with another report saying the San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners are among the finalists to sign Ohtani.

Now, while the Cubs — along with plenty of other teams — aren't mentioned in any of that, all that info would seem to be bad news for those hoping to see Ohtani on the North Side next season. Cashman, among others, seems to know which teams are in the running for Ohtani's services, and the Cubs in no way fit the Yankees' general manager's description of a small-market team on the West Coast.

Again, because the Cubs are not mentioned at all and haven't been reported as in or out of the chase for baseball's top offseason target, the door remains open that they're in the running as much as anyone else.

In fact, one report lists the Cubs as a "possible exception" to the West Coast rule.

But there sure are a lot of signs pointing to Ohtani preferring to play out West, meaning perhaps Theo Epstein's front office is facing an uphill battle when it comes to convincing Ohtani to come to Chicago.

Cubs Talk Podcast: What would it take for the Cubs to trade Kris Bryant?

bryant_thumb.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: What would it take for the Cubs to trade Kris Bryant?

Luke Stuckmeyer, David Kaplan and Tony Andracki break down the Kris Bryant trade rumors.

01:00 - How much truth is there to the "Will Kris Bryant be traded" story?

04:25 - Is there any package a team could offer that would give the Cubs what they value Bryant at?

05:35 - Who is the most untouchable player on the Cubs roster?

08:55 - Will Bryant be in Chicago long enough to wear a Cubs hat if he makes it to Cooperstown?

--

12:00 - Is Nolan Arenado a match in a possible trade for Bryant

16:00 - If MVP is Bryant's ceiling, what is his floor?

17:00 - Any players who had a shoulder issue like Bryant had who never bounced back?

19:00 - Would a Noah Syndergaard for Kris Bryant trade make sense?

20:20 - Could Josh Donaldson be a target for the Cubs?

21:00 - Is all this Bryant talk much ado about nothing

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

Subscribe:

Joe Maddon received a first-place vote for NL Manager of the Year

maddonmadman.jpg
USA TODAY

Joe Maddon received a first-place vote for NL Manager of the Year

Joe Maddon's future beyond 2019 remains unclear, but his 2018 performance was good enough in someone's eyes to warrant a first-place vote in NL Manager of the Year voting.

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker won the award, receiving 17 of the 30 first-place votes in the process. Meanwhile, Maddon also added a third-place vote to finish fifth overall, behind Milwaukee's Craig Counsell, Colorado's Bud Black and St. Louis' Mike Shildt.

Members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America vote for the award and two representatives from each market vote, adding up to the 30 voters (see the full list of 2018 NL voters here). Jayson Stark tweeted out that it was in fact 670 The Score's Bruce Levine who voted for Maddon with a hometown pick.

A large number of Cubs fans are disappointed that 2018 was the worst postseason run the team has had in the current run of four straight playoff appearances, but that doesn't factor into the voting. Maddon led the Cubs to 95 wins, second best in the league to the Brewers after Milwaukee won the NL Central playoff at Wrigley Field. He did so while Yu Darvish pitched only 40 innings, Kris Bryant was limited to 102 games and had his worst season in the majors and closer Brandon Morrow didn't pitch after July 15.

That is a decent argument to make for Maddon, but expectations have never been higher on the North Side and Theo Epstein saying the Cubs won't renew his contract this offseason isn't the highest vote of confidence.

Maddon's future with the Cubs will be a talking point until he either leaves or gets a new contract, but he has one believer in Chicago.