The Chicago Cubs aren’t playing for much more than glory but these three may have already earned themselves a bigger role for next year.
The Chicago Cubs aren’t going to make the postseason but they’ll definitely play a factor in who does get there. They have several games left on the schedule against playoff hopefuls aside from even the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals battling for National League Central supremacy.
With their hopes of making the postseason buried six feet under, what else can the Cubs do other than play spoil?
Well, with a look ahead toward 2023, several members of the current Cubs roster can earn themselves a bigger role for next year’s club. In fact, a few may have already secured themselves with more innings.
1. Cubs have another Ian Happ with Christopher Morel
The Cubs might have even more of a reason to trade Ian Happ this offseason because his replacement is obvious. Christopher Morel, 23, is playing all over the place and hitting incredibly well for the club. He has 12 home runs in 276 at-bats and a promising .257/.326/.464 slash line through his first 75 MLB games. He is already tied with Happ for third on the team in home runs but that’s not what makes him an obvious candidate for regular playing time next season.
Morel has seen the bulk of his action in center field for the Cubs this season. A near impossible position for many clubs to fill with a guy who can field and hit, Morel might still be better-suited in the utility role the Cubs have used him at than some permanency in center field. Morel has also seen action at second base, third base, and even shortstop. All tough positions to play, he has become an asset the franchise is very familiar with.
Happ was the obvious player to replace Ben Zobrist and the torch could soon get passed on to Morel. Because he is hitting and doing it with some nice pop, they’re going to find a place to play him next year even if it’s a different spot defensively each game.