Christopher Morel has been an excellent utility option for the Cubs this year, starting at five different positions and batting at every spot in the lineup (provided Saturday’s game is played). He’ll be adding yet another layer of versatility in Sunday’s game, as David Ross noted coyly when speaking with Marquee’s Tony Andracki. The manager said Morel “will be at a new position” to close out the weekend, though we aren’t yet sure exactly what that will be.
David Ross said Christopher Morel "will be at a new position" Sunday. Not sure exactly what he means by that, but Morel hasn't played 3B yet this year so that could be it.
Also worth noting: Morel has worked out at 1B a couple times, Ross said.
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) July 1, 2023
Third base is the most obvious spot since, even though Morel got over 141 innings there last year, it would still be new because he hasn’t been there at all this season. Jed Hoyer also went on record a couple weeks ago as saying that it made sense for the slugger to get more regular reps at the hot corner. Ross did note, however, that Morel has been getting some reps at first base during pregame work.
The pitching matchup would normally be a clue, but righty Aaron Civale is pitching to nearly identical splits through seven starts. He’s pitched to relatively big reverse splits over the course of his career, though, and this could be a chance for Ross to try Morel at first while giving lefty-batting rookie Jared Young a break. Between the matchup and Ross noting Morel’s work, I’d say that’s the clubhouse favorite.
My personal preference remains third base, even though Nick Madrigal has been adequate there and his bat has come alive of late. That whole situation is really funny because Madrigal stans have come out of the woodwork, getting big mad at the mere suggestion that he’s not the answer at third. Likewise, there’s a strange dynamic in the Morel discourse because he’s portrayed as either a potential Nolan Arenado or as setting up an abattoir over there depending on who you ask.
The other angle here is that Morel playing first means we’ve probably seen the last of Trey Mancini in the field. More to come on this as Ross reveals his Sunday lineup.