The Cincinnati Reds were never part of the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, but one of their fiercest NL Central rivals were. The Chicago Cubs were rumored throughout the offseason to be chasing Ohtani in free agency, but the two-way superstar signed elsewhere.
Ultimately, the reigning AL MVP signed a 10-year/$700-million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But there was another team who came very close to signing Ohtani.
The Toronto Blue Jays were part of the Ohtani negotiations last week, but in the end, came up short. However, the Blue Jays may now pivot to some other free agent targets, which may leave the Cubs out in the cold.
Reds' NL Central rival could face crippling consequences following Shohei Ohtani's deal
Look for free agent outfielder Cody Bellinger to be the biggest beneficiary of those teams who missed out on Shohei Ohtani. Bellinger, who played for the Cubs in 2023, has been sitting idly by on the sidelines while the media circus surrounding Ohtani played out.
After swinging and missing on Ohtani, the Blue Jays may get back into the market in an effort to upgrade their lineup. Bellinger is the most-sought after upgrade in free agency, and Toronto may declare a bidding war with Chicago in the coming days.
Another team to watch closely will be the San Francisco Giants. After missing out on Aaron Judge and other big names last offseason, the Giants may be after some heavy-hitters in free agency. With Ohtani in the NL West for the next decade, San Fran is going to have to add some firepower in order to counteract the Dodgers.
All of this is good news for Reds fans. If the Cubbies miss out on bringing Bellinger back to the Windy City, the upgrades Chicago can make to their lineup take a dramatic hit.
Matt Chapman seems like an odd fit in Chicago, and while Jorge Soler brings a lot of power, he's limited defensively. Rhys Hoskins has been linked to the Cubs in recent days, but coming off an ACL injury the year prior, what will his effectiveness be?
At the moment, the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals have upgraded their rosters, and the Chicago Cubs have not. While the Cubs are sure to make some moves, other clubs will be targeting those same players.
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