Hot on the heels of my penning a piece on Christopher Morel potentially best serving the Cubs as a trade chip this offseason, we got a report from Bruce Levine saying Chicago will indeed be in on the Juan Soto trade talks - and that Morel is a particular player of note for the San Diego Padres.
"The question quickly becomes this: What would the Cubs need to give up to get Soto? Numerous opposing teams have asked about 24-year-old utilityman Christopher Morel, who hit 26 homers and posted an .821 OPS in 107 games in 2023. Morel is under team control through 2028 and isn’t arbitration-eligible until the 2026 season. The Padres are high on Morel, sources said."- Bruce Levine, 670 WSCR
Soto is poised to set an arbitration record in his final trip through the process this winter and is estimated to make a $33 million salary in 2024. The Padres might absorb some of that depending on the trade return and, as Levine points out, the Cubs certainly have the prospect depth to be a serious contender for the former batting champ and MVP finalist.
Can the Cubs land a superstar like Juan Soto this winter?
The big draw with Morel, outside of his abilities on the field, is the fact that he's under team control through 2028 - potentially giving a team like San Diego a cost-controlled asset for much of this decade. Unless the Cubs can make third base a permanent home for Morel, it's hard to see a path to everyday at-bats for him in Chicago long-term.
Soto would definitely check the box for transformative offensive talent the Cubs need - regardless of whether or not they could keep him past 2024. He would likely see time in the outfield and at DH and would be the biggest star on the North Side since the Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo days.