There was an expectation that first base prospect Matt Mervis would play an important role for the Chicago Cubs' offense in 2023 and that likely was the reason why the team did not fully address the first position last winter.
Despite early rumors last off-season of the Cubs targeting first base options such as Jose Abreu or Josh Bell, the team opted for lesser deals with veterans Trey Mancini and Eric Hosmer. The expectation was that Mancini and Hosmer would serve as stopgaps at the first base position until Mervis was ready.
Mervis was promoted to the Major League level in May with Hosmer being designated for assignment shortly after and the plan appeared to be on track.
Unfortunately, mash is not what Mervis was able to do at the Major League level.
In 99 plate appearances at the Major League level in 2023, Mervis struggled with a slash line of .167/.242/.289 with 3 home runs and a wRC+ of 46.
With the Cubs contending for a post-season spot, the team that was inconsistent on offense for most of the season was not in a position to play a struggling prospect every day for the purpose of development. Mervis was optioned to Triple-A Iowa halfway through June and did not return to the Major League level for the remainder of the season.
It would seem that the Chicago Cubs are not considering Matt Mervis as an option for first base in 2024.
Mervis was able to find his approach with the Iowa Cubs to end the season as he slashed .280/.398/.524 with a 131 wRC+ in his return stint a the Triple-A level but the team's actions toward the end of the season may be an indicator of how they project the first base prospect.
When the Cubs' offense was struggling to find answers during the final month of the season and the team faced injuries to Nick Madrigal and Jeimer Candelario, there appeared to be a clear path to Mervis returning to the Major League level but the team opted to promoted Jared Young instead. The Cubs had identified a swing adjustment that Mervis needs to make and it would seem that the team did not see enough progress with that adjustment by the end of the season.
With rumors swirling that the Cubs have made trading for first baseman Pete Alonso a priority this winter, it would appear that the team is not sold on how Mervis projects at the Major League level.