Shohei Ohtani

Jon Heyman evaluates Cubs' backup plans in free agency if they strike out on Shohei Ohtani

Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman and Rhys Hoskins are all in play if the Cubs come away without Ohtani

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Rumors have swirled about the Cubs' position on Shohei Ohtani at this offseason's MLB Winter Meetings.

Some reports showed the Cubs "balked" at the $500 million price tag Ohtani comes with in free agency. Others suggest their optimism to land the Japanese star has "significantly waned."

Insider Jon Heyman affirmed the Cubs haven't heard "No" from Ohtani's camp. But, for good measures, he reported a de facto Plan B for the Cubs in the event they miss out on Ohtani.

Additional reports suggest in a non-Ohtani world the Cubs could be in on Japanese pitching star Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Pete Alonso is another name that's been attached to the Cubs since the start of the offseason.

Jesse Rogers reported he wouldn't rule out a star outfielder from the Cubs if they miss on Ohtani, either.

"I wouldn't completely discount [Juan] Soto, I put him back in the mix … if the Cubs strike out on Ohtani," Rogers said on ESPN 1000.

The Cubs could look to address their opening at first base with Hoskins, who was seemingly outed by the Phillies when they announced Bryce Harper would play there on defense.

Hoskins spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Phillies. He hit 30 home runs and drove in 79 RBI’s during the 2022 season, appearing in 156 games. He slashed .246/.332/.462, roughly in line with his career averages in all three categories.

Third base has long been a need for the Cubs. Nick Madrigal proved surprisingly helpful in most games at the corner. But Chapman would make for a more concrete solution at the position.

He's a wall at the position, recording 12 defensive runs saved at the position there last season. He hit 17 home runs and finished with a .755 OPS last season, too. He's exceptionally durable, too, averaging 148 games per season over the last three years.

Obviously, Bellinger shifted the trajectory of his career with the Cubs on a one-year "prove it" deal with the Cubs last season. The Cubs grew fond of Bellinger following his 26 home run and 97 RBI season last season.

But the Cubs could be motivated to rely on Pete Crow-Armstrong in center field, should they feel the youngster is ready for the major leagues in a full-time role.

Either way, the Cubs are proving to be aggressive this offseason. Who will they land this winter?

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