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#pounditFriday, February 23, 2024

Cubs have backup plan in mind if they miss out on Shohei Ohtani

A Chicago Cubs helmet

Sep 14, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs batting helmet sits on the dugout rail before the Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs are still holding onto their lottery ticket for the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a Plan B.

Last month, the Cubs were seen as the “most aggressive team” chasing Ohtani. But it appears as though their hot pursuit of Ohtani hasn’t yielded the same level of mutual interest.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Tuesday that the Cubs’ optimism for landing Ohtani has “significantly waned.”

According to the New York Post’s Jon Heyman, the Cubs remain linked to a couple of free agent sluggers in Rhys Hoskins and Matt Chapman. The team is also reportedly interested in bringing back last season’s breakout acquisition Cody Bellinger.

The Cubs are said to be in close contact with Hoskins’ representatives. Both one-year and multi-year deals are reportedly being discussed.

The Cubs would be taking on some risk if they ultimately sign Hoskins. The first baseman missed the Philadelphia Phillies’ entire 2023 season while recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee.

But given how well the Cubs’ Bellinger signing worked out last season, the team may want to see if they can channel something similar with Hoskins.

Bellinger led the team in batting average (.307), RBI (97), slugging percentage (.525), and tied for the team lead in home runs (26) in his lone year with the Cubs.

Hoskins batted .246 with 30 home runs and 79 RBI in 156 games for the Phillies in 2022.

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