One of the biggest questions that the Chicago Cubs will need to find an answer to this off-season is what to do with Christopher Morel.
For a team that lacked power for most of the season, Morel's value to the lineup could not be replaced as he totaled 26 home runs with a 119 wRC+ and .260 ISO in 429 plate appearances during his second season at the Major League level.
Morel was a rarity for the Cubs' lineup last season in that he was one of the few players that had the potential to change the course of a game with one swing and that is a trait that Jed Hoyer touched on during his end-of-season press conference.
"“The power is real,” Hoyer said. “He’s dangerous. We didn’t have a lot of guys in the lineup that could change the score that quickly.”"- Jed Hoyer via The Athletic
The issue for the Cubs is determining how to utilize Morel moving forward. For as valuable as Morel was offensively, worth 12.3 runs above average offensively, he was a major liability defensively with a value of -12.9 runs.
Morel's best position defensively is second base but with Nico Hoerner firmly in place at the position as one of the team's leaders and Dansby Swanson at shortstop, third base remains the only option. That is an option that the Cubs prefer not to use and that is the reason that Morel could find himself on the trade block this winter.
"Because of the Cubs’ lack of established power on the roster, trading Morel is a risk. But it also might make the most sense for them when assessing his value on the market. A team willing to figure out a specific position — he looked capable at second in 390 innings of work over the past two seasons — could make a move worth it for the Cubs. If the right move comes along, perhaps it makes sense to fill another hole and use others as the power DH bat. Patrick Wisdom, Miguel Amaya and Alexander Canario make sense as current 40-man options, but a new acquisition could be part of the mix, too."- Sahadev Sharma via The Athletic
It should be worth noting that the Cubs are not going to trade Morel for the simple fact that they don't know where to play him defensively. It's likely that Morel would be included in a trade that addresses a clear need for the Cubs such as a potential deal for Juan Soto.
Power is going to be the biggest need that the Cubs will have this winter so it should be worth noting that Morel likely won't be shipped elsewhere unless the team has fully addressed the need.