Christopher Morel and Nelson Velazquez likely to miss Cubs' Opening Day roster

Feb 26, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Christopher Morel against the Los
Feb 26, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Christopher Morel against the Los / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The construction of the Chicago Cubs roster in 2022 was negligible and that would be the reason why the team may have depended on rookies Christopher Morel and Nelson Velazquez to remain on the Major League roster last season despite each going through offensive struggles at different points during the season.

There has been a growing sense that Morel will begin the season with Triple-A Iowa and that idea was only solidified when Patrick Mooney of The Athletic opened up his Cubs' mailbag.

"It sounded like Ross sent an implicit message last weekend when he said the Cubs would be doing a “disservice” to their young players by not giving them consistent at-bats and then expecting them to produce in a limited role once a week. The manager wasn’t commenting on any specific players, but you get the idea that the Cubs are prioritizing long-term development with Morel and Velázquez, hoping to get them in a good rhythm and focus on a few fundamentals before calling them back up to Wrigley Field. "

Patrick Mooney via The Athletic

The Cubs have added Major League talent to their roster this offseason. Normally, that is a rather strange comment to have to say out loud but after the Cubs fielded an Opening Day roster that was littered with minor-league journeymen last season, it is comfortable knowing that the team has added Major League depth this offseason with the signings of Cody Bellinger, Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer, and Edwin Rios.

Those signings are what will allow the Cubs to revert back to the best practice for prospects and that is getting them consistent playing time. Neither Morel nor Velazquez is going to have a path to consistent playing time with the Cubs at the Major League level to begin the season.

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Morel hit under .200 during the second half of the season in 2022 and Velazquez compiled an 87 wRC+. Each player likely will play an important role for the Cubs at the Major League level but they are in need of working on adjustments. Those adjustments will need to be made with consistent playing time and that can be accomplished at Triple-A Iowa.