Dream sequence: What the Cubs lineup, rotation would look like with Shohei Ohtani in 2024
The Cubs are playing the Angels this week in Anaheim, marking the first time MLB’s preeminent superstar Shohei Ohtani plays against the North Siders.
(Fun fact: The Cubs were the only MLB team Ohtani had not faced prior to Tuesday night’s contest — besides the Angels, of course.)
So what better opportunity is there to daydream about what the Cubs roster would look like with the two-way player in the fold?
Ohtani is set to become a free agent after this year and will undoubtedly command the largest contract in the sport’s history.
On Cubs Live! before the game Tuesday night, Cole Wright, Cliff Floyd and Lance Brozdowski decided to live in that dream world and drew up a new Cubs lineup and rotation for 2024 — including Ohtani.
Here’s Floyd’s lineup:
You’ll notice Matt Chapman is in there, too. As is Bellinger, who signed a 1-year deal with the Cubs prior to 2023 but has a mutual option for 2024.
But Ohtani is the headliner, slotting into the 2-spot and DHing. That pushed Dansby Swanson down to the 3-hole with Chapman and Bellinger trailing. Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki — who routinely form the 3-4 in the Cubs order this season — drop to 7 and 6 in the lineup, respectively.
Quite the offensive team.
“We’re living in a dream world, right?” Floyd said. “This is not taking anything away from anybody on this roster. We’re not talking about P-Wizzy [Patrick Wisdom] not being in there. We’re just talking about in the dream world, Matt Chapman has had a resurgent season in Toronto, doing his thing.
“This is all about Shohei. And if Shohei wants to land on the North Side, you can pretty much do what you want to do. And this lineup is really deep with the way I situated my lineup. … I just look at getting as much pop as you can in the middle. I think you need a star.”
As for the rotation, Brozdowski pencils Ohtani in atop the starting staff.
He also projects a big Cubs trade this offseason to acquire Cleveland right-hander Shane Bieber, the 2020 AL Cy Young winner.
In addition, Brozdowski has Marcus Stroman returning. Stroman has an opt-out after the 2023 season but has expressed interest in signing a long-term deal with the franchise.
“We want a trade,” Brozdowski said. “I want Shane Bieber on this team. … The Cubs have a ton of prospect capital. Bieber’s velocity has been down the last 3 years. I want him in the Pitch Lab, I want him here, I want that velo back up and I want him as the 3 in this rotation. I want Stroman back.
“Run prevention combined with that lineup Cliff has, it’s unbelievable.”
Check out the entire conversation in the video above.