Christopher Morel is an interesting piece beyond the 2022 season

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Christopher Morel has been a bright spot for the Chicago Cubs in his short time with the club and his future is filled with further intrigue.

The Chicago Cubs brought up Christopher Morel from Double-A and he provided an immediate spark. It didn’t take long for the 22-year-old to climb the lineup and enter the leadoff spot, which seems likely to be his for the foreseeable future.

His versatility defensively has enabled David Ross to get creative with injuries forcing players in and out of the lineup. For as fun as Morel has been with Chicago, his future with the club is very much worth questioning given the impending talent.

Morel has played primarily at second base and center field in his first month of MLB action but has the ability to play pretty much anywhere on the diamond. Nico Hoerner seems to have the shortstop spot locked down, which has allowed the Cubs to view other areas for improvement.

However, for a player like Morel, things are a bit more complicated beyond this season. Top prospect Brennan Davis is expected to arrive in center field at some point next season and could very well take over the starting job in center field in 2023. Nick Madrigal is capable of handling the everyday duties at second base, assuming he returns to form offensively.

Given that Madrigal is not nearly as flexible as Morel, it would make more sense to give Madrigal the nod up the middle and force Morel to find a role elsewhere.

Where will Christopher Morel fit with the Cubs in 2023?

Finding a defined role for Morel is nearly impossible beyond this season. If the Cubs sell hard at the deadline and do not plan on contending in 2023, there could be a clearer path for the youngster.

Ian Happ is one of the biggest trade pieces the Cubs have to offer given his ability to hit from both sides of the plate and an improved showing defensively this season. Willson Contreras will net a massive return but Happ is going to command a nice chunk of change himself and that would open an extra spot in the outfield.

If Happ is moved, Davis could slide over to left field while Morel continues to take reps in center field next season. The more reasonable option for Morel would be to move to third base this season following a trade of Patrick Wisdom. The competition at that position is far weaker than elsewhere on the roster and Wisdom should not be part of any long-term plans.

Constructing an infield of Morel, Hoerner, and Madrigal is exciting enough for the Cubs given what they had to begin this season. They could even trade Frank Schwindel and move Wisdom to first base with Morel at third but that is more of a short-term move.

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Morel’s two natural positions just so happen to be the two spots that Chicago appears to be the most comfortable for the future. If he is going to make the Opening Day roster in 2023, Morel is going to have to get familiar with a new position or adopt the role of utilityman moving forward.