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2023 MLB Winter Meetings Day 1 open thread

There should be lots of trade and free agent things to talk about today.

Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings actually began Sunday evening in Nashville, but they get going in earnest today.

There was a bit of news about top free agent Shohei Ohtani yesterday:

According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, a “small group” of teams is expected to meet with Ohtani and his representatives in Los Angeles this weekend. Industry sources told Nicholson-Smith that negotiations with the two-time MVP are entering their “final stretch.”

The exact identity of those teams is not known, but Nicholson-Smith reports that the Dodgers are seen as “the clear leading suitor” for Ohtani. The Blue Jays and Cubs are believed to be in that small group, per Nicholson-Smith, while the Giants and Angels “haven’t been ruled out.”

So... the Cubs are still in the running. That, of course, would be among the biggest news items in Cubs history. Here’s hoping.

Here are three key questions regarding the Cubs at the Winter Meetings from the Tribune’s Meghan Montemurro, including this on Ohtani:

If Ohtani commits to a team by the end of the winter meetings, the Cubs are among the most notable clubs whose offseason direction gains a lot of clarity. There are avenues beyond Ohtani — though none singularly powerful on or off the field — for the Cubs to build a winning team, but it starts with him.

This is a handy guide to all the happenings this week. The MLB Draft lottery will be tomorrow, televised live on MLB Network at 4:30 p.m. CT. And the Rule 5 Draft will conclude the Winter Meetings Wednesday afternoon.

There was one big trade made late Sunday:

Speculation is that the Mariners are clearing salary and might attempt to deal for Juan Soto.

Consider this an open thread for all Winter Meetings discussion. Of course, if the Cubs make a trade or sign a free agent, that will be covered separately on the front page.

Have at it!