I shouldn’t need to warn you about the nature of these reports, but it never hurts to acknowledge the fact that veracity is at a premium this time of year. Tuesday night saw a widely circulated report from a guy who claims to have had the Jacob deGrom contract three minutes before Jeff Passan — he would have had it 45 minutes earlier if not for taking care of a newborn — that Shohei Ohtani had rebuffed the Dodgers’ offers.
He appeared to be quoting a source in saying “All signs point to Chicago Cubs,” then tagged several journalists and news outlets to offer up his availability for interviews.
Maybe he’s right in the end, but so are broken clocks twice a day. I will say, however, that the age of global connectivity and the evolution of social media into an environment that sees people engaging for little other than clout has resulted in breaks coming from unlikely sources. There are also times when more reputable reporters can’t share what they know for one reason or another. Take that for what it’s worth.
In any case, there was a conflicting report Wednesday afternoon from Michael Marino of Fantrax, who reported that the Dodgers were still among four confirmed Ohtani suitors. The Cubs were also listed alongside the Blue Jays and Angels. While it’s more than fair to doubt whether and how Marino actually confirmed these teams given the cloak of secrecy Ohtani’s camp has spread over the proceedings, there are some interesting notes.
Among the teams I have confirmed are still in for MLB Phenom Shohei Ohtani:
This isn’t an exclusive list, others still remain in. These are just the ones I know are still in the mix. https://t.co/t2UG852Xfk
— Michael Marino (@MarinoMLB) November 29, 2023
The first is that Marino wasn’t definitive, acknowledging that other teams are still in and that he simply wasn’t able to confirm them. You typically find clout-chasers to be either very bold and definitive or completely nebulous, so the humility and candor are either a tell or a smokescreen.
Next is the fact that Marino is listing these teams while quoting his initial report that the Rangers and an AL East team have dropped out of the running. Again, it’s your choice as to how much of this you choose to believe. Taken at face value, it means either the Yankees or Red Sox are no longer in the race. Neither tends to fall off early, but this isn’t a typical pursuit.
Even though most of the folks who need to read this probably already wrote it off without getting past the headline, I just want to reiterate here that I’m not promoting this report as fact. Nor am I brushing it off as a complete fabrication. As with so many other rumors and reports out there, it’s more a matter of pulling things together and keeping a finger on the pulse of the whole deal.
I do believe the Cubs are in the race, but I also believe they’re keeping their machinations as airtight as possible. With apologies to those who believe for some reason that we should only write about news that has actually happened, we’re going to keep covering this a little bit at a time as though we’re putting together a 1,000-piece puzzle.