Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Cubs’ Plan For Christopher Morel Is Forming

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Since the departure of Kris Bryant in 2021, the Cubs have been unable to find consistency at the hot corner. Third base has been a true team effort, with Patrick Wisdom and Nick Madrigal getting the most reps in 2022. But going into 2024, it looks like Christopher Morel will get his shot.

Going into this offseason, it was heavily speculated that the Cubs would be looking to make moves to find consistency at both third and first base – whether via free agency or a trade. They were rumored to be in the market for free-agent third baseman Matt Chapman. There were also rumors the Cubs were dangling Morel out in the trade market for a potential suitor. But, understandably, their price tag for him was very high, and nothing came of it.

Now, the Cubs will start spring training like how they ended the 2023 season at third base. They also have Michael Busch, a top prospect who came to Chicago via a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But according to manager Craig Counsell, Morel will be given the opportunity to claim the spot.

Morel To Get His Shot To Be The Everyday Cub’s Third Baseman

Since being called up to the majors in the middle of the 2022 season, Morel has played just 23 games at third base. As versatile as he has been in the field, nearly every other fielding position is filled. This position gives him the best chance to be an everyday starter.

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Counsell also pointed out how important it will be for the Cubs to consistently keep Morel’s bat in the lineup – for both him and the team. As of right now, that statement is as true as it gets. This lineup severely lacks power, especially as they are still without free agent Cody Bellinger. Should he not be back in Chicago, the power aspect might be on Morel’s shoulders.

Morel Ready To Work With Cubs To Improve

While the throw to first is not quite where he or the Cubs want it to be, Morel says they are working on making him a better third baseman. Morel played third for most of his time in the Dominican playing winter ball, and he said he made a couple of nice plays down there. But he knows there is work to do and wants to improve.

Morel has 180.2 innings of experience at third base, which is just under 14% of his total defensive innings in the major leagues. If things go as planned for him, he’ll hit that number by the middle of May in 2024. But it will all depend on his spring.

From what we’re hearing from Morel and Counsell, the Cubs will no longer be in the market for Chapman or any other third baseman. The Cubs believe in what they have on the team now. If not Morel, Wisdom has plenty of experience at third, and Madrigal, when healthy, has shown flares of special defense.

Even if his defense is not Chapman-level, Morel brings so much to the Cubs that can’t be found on the free agency market. He’s loved in the locker room, and you can see the smiles and laughter he induces in the dugout. And in his short time with the Cubs, he’s become a fan favorite, with loud cheers coming each at-bat. There are many people inside and outside of the organization for Morel to make the most of this opportunity.

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