MLB insider hints blockbuster trade could sway Shohei Ohtani to Dodgers' rivals

This could certainly change the balance of things.

Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two / David Berding/GettyImages
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Rumors emerged last weekend that placed the Chicago Cubs alongside the long-favored Los Angeles Dodgers in the Shohei Ohtani race. According to Michael Cerami's retelling of Chicago insider Bruce Levine's radio spot, sources have indicated that it "could be Dodgers and Cubs" all the way to the finish line.

That would indicate the Dodgers retain favored status, but have watched the Cubs gain on them in recent weeks -- or perhaps they were at the forefront all along after making a strong pitch in 2017 as well. Regardless, the fewer moves Chicago makes in a post-Counsell world, the better for the Dodgers, who want to both operate in silence and close this deal.

Ohtani hurting his elbow doesn't seem to have deterred them much. Neither have the hard feelings from the team's previous meeting with Ohtani, when Clayton Kershaw left feeling cold and ignored. But if some other franchise goes out and takes the ultimate prize, rather than being passive and waiting for the universe to align in Hollywood? That could change things.

According to a rumor dignified by Jon Morosi, the Cubs are reportedly exploring a longshot Bo Bichette trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Adding a 25-year-old All-Star third baseman and offensive machine could certainly stir things up in a way LA would prefer not to have to gameplan for.

Dodgers suddenly threatened by Cubs in Shohei Ohtani chase?

Does Chicago have something insane brewing behind the scenes? Whether you've heard of Matt Cozzi or not, Morosi certainly lent credence to the talks by interacting with him.

Also ... sorry, the Blue Jays are in the Ohtani sweepstakes? When was someone going to let us know? Give Toronto credit; they must've scored highly on Ohtani's Meeting Secretiveness Scale. Those Canucks locked things down.

Importing Bichette, under team control for the next two years, would certainly be an enticing "win now" move that could help sway Ohtani -- and it wouldn't be Chicago's first this offseason. Something tells us, after years of silent (or, at least, assumed) courtship, the Dodgers won't take the slugger's interest in Toronto declining as a consolation prize for the shockwaves Chicago closing this deal would make in their pursuit.

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