Here's how the Cubs will handle the third base position in 2023

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

The late addition of Edwin Rios - paired with some recent comments from David Ross - have shed some light on how the Chicago Cubs plan to handle third base duties in 2023.

"We’ve got some more established players. I think he can bounce around the outfield for us as a fourth outfielder, or could be a utility player. He can play pretty much any infield position besides first. There’s a lot of growth potential there for him. "

David Ross, via

This isn't the first time we've heard that Morel is ticketed for a utility role this year. But with spring training underway, hearing Ross confirm this plan for the 24-year-old lends clarity to the third base picture with returner and Cubs rookie home run record holder Patrick Wisdom teaming up with Rios in a potentially lethal platoon combination.

Wisdom, who's amassed 53 home runs and a .465 slugging percentage over the last two seasons, has been downright dangerous against left-handed pitching. The former first-rounder tagged southpaws for a 146 sOPS+ and .892 OPS last season, an improvement on an already strong showing in such matchups the year prior.

His weakness comes against right-handers, who has managed just a .665 OPS against in 2022. That necessitates either a dramatic improvement against righties from Wisdom or a perfect platoon partner who thrives where he falls short - and that's where Rios comes into the equation.

Cubs: Edwin Rios, Patrick Wisdom could form a perfect platoon at third

Constantly blocked from regular playing time as a member of the Dodgers, Rios comes to the Cubs with a track record of impressive power in his professional career. In 239 big league plate appearances against right-handers, he boasts a .476 slugging percentage (it's worth nothing in a limited sample size, he's slugged really well against southpaws, too).

In 2019 with Los Angeles' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, Rios slugged .575 in 444 plate appearances, belting 31 home runs and adding 23 doubles. The opportunities were just never there - at least not consistently - with the Dodgers, something that shouldn't be an issue for a Cubs team with a need for power, especially left-handed power, in the lineup.

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We'll also (apparently) see Nick Madrigal get some time at third, which means we could see either Wisdom or Rios getting reps at the DH spot on days Trey Mancini or Eric Hosmer get a blow. The good news is David Ross has plenty of options at the hot corner and this roster, as a whole, feels like it has much improved depth as Cactus League action gets underway.