Cubs are a threat to sign Shohei Ohtani, and that should make Cardinals fans nervous

If the Chicago Cubs are able to pull off signing the biggest free agent in MLB history, the Cardinals may be in big trouble for a long time.
Chicago Cubs Introduce Craig Counsell as Manager
Chicago Cubs Introduce Craig Counsell as Manager / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

Have you ever heard the adage "Keep your side of the street clean"? Well, in the case of the St. Louis Cardinals, they have quite the mess in their own front yard, but you can't help but look at their neighbors, the Chicago Cubs, and wonder if they are able to make a $500 million dollar upgrade to their home.

No, not a stadium renovation, though I wish that was what I was referring to. I'm talking about Shohei Ohtani, the biggest star in baseball and possibly the greatest talent we have ever seen. Yeah, that guy may end up being a Chicago Cub this offseason.

The Chicago Cubs are a legit threat to sign Shohei Ohtani

While it's probably fair to say the Dodgers are still the favorites for Ohtani, the Cubs have emerged as a legitimate threat in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

Bruce Levine of 670 The Score recently recounted the Cubs' pursuit of Ohtani when he was coming to Major League Baseball from Japan, noting how meetings went very well but the lack of a designated hitter in the National League at the time was a major roadblock. He also suggested that the Cubs would be willing to give Ohtani early opt-outs in his contract, which could allow him to cash in on an even bigger contract in the next few years if he shows his arm is healthy.

Most people in baseball still have the Dodgers as heavy favorites for Ohtani's services, and rightfully so. The fit between Ohtani and the Dodgers is perfect, and even with their need for pitching this offseason, it seems like they remain all in on the Ohtani pursuit. Baseball America recently put their odds of signing Ohtani at 70%.

Even so, it's hard to ignore the Cubs' pursuit of Ohtani, and frankly, it should scare Cardinals fans. When the Cubs went out and signed Craig Counsell this offseason, it sent signals to the baseball world that they are legitimate in their desire to make splashes this offseason. Ohtani would not only be the biggest splash of this offseason but potentially in all of MLB history.

The Cubs were almost a playoff team in 2023, and if you add Ohtani to that team and the addition of Counsell as manager, that team's ceiling goes up significantly. They would still need pitching help, but they are easily a playoff team with aspirations for much more than that. Not only would they be well positioned for 2023, but with a strong farm system and more money to spend, they'd be set up to be juggernauts for the next decade.

It would be one thing for a National League foe like the Dodgers to add an all-time great like Ohtani, but it would be a whole other thing for the Cardinals division foe and arch-rival to now have his services. It would not make the Cubs unbeatable or force the Cardinals into some kind of rebuild, but it would give the Cubs a strong upper hand for the foreseeable future, something the Cardinals should be very worried about.