Craig Counsell provides major update on the Chicago Cubs third base plan

The Cubs are searching for a long-term answer at third base.

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Third base has been a question for the Chicago Cubs since the day that the team traded Kris Bryant to the San Francisco Giants during the 2021 season.

After experiments with Nick Madrigal, Miles Mastrobuoni, and Patrick Wisdom at the position, new Cubs' manager Craig Counsell entered Spring Training this season with the goal of giving Christopher Morel a look at the position.

Morel has played exclusively at third base during Spring Training, giving the impression that he is indeed on track to be the team's Opening Day third baseman. That belief may have been strengthened by the fact that Matt Chapman is no longer available.

Despite that indication, Counsell is not ready to commit to a plan at third base during the regular season.

It would seem likely that at the start of the season, Morel will be given the first opportunity to earn regular playing time at third base. However, given how the Cubs plan to use the designated hitter's spot on a rotation of players, it's possible that Counsell uses Madrigal at third base given that he is probably the best fielder at the position.

Mastrobuoni and Wisdom are both in a group of players that will be fighting for one of the final spots on the Cubs' roster. Morel getting an extended run at third base may limit the value that each player has on the team.

Mastrobuoni has position flexibility but his inconsistent offensive profile may lead the Cubs to keep an extra outfielder on the 26-man roster. Wisdom has the power that should work in his favor but if Garrett Cooper impresses in the next few weeks, Wisdom's spot may be in question.

Regardless, Mastrobuoni and Wisdom likely aren't in a position to receive regular playing time at third base during the regular season. The answer that may be identified by the end of the season may be 2023 first-round pick Matt Shaw. Shaw has impressed during Spring Training and could be on a quick ascension toward the Major League level if he continues to hit once the season starts.

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