No Rushed Decision on Morel, Wicks, Uniforms, Extremely Elite College Performance, and Other Cubs Bullets

Anyone else have a mental image of Jed Hoyer texting Scott Boras during that game, what with all Pete Crow-Armstrong’s valuable antics, and saying, “Hey, never mind … jk … or am I? … “

It’s all just tongue-in-cheek for so many reasons (mostly because it’s one half of one Spring Training game), but I suppose there is a kernel of flip-side there that we haven’t discussed. As we know by now, Boras is hoping for his big four clients that some injury or underperformance or desperation develops among teams to get his guys the deals they want. But in some cases, it’s also POSSIBLE that things could actually go the other way, and teams’ interest could decrease based on things they observe in the spring. That’s relatively unlikely in most of the cases we’d be talking about, but that risk is not zero.

  • It was good to see Christopher Morel in there immediately at third base, and I hope he gets lots and lots of game reps there this spring, in addition to all the work on the practice fields. He made several plays in the game, all of them routine, and all of them of the type that you’d expect him to make with ease (mostly going to his left).
  • During an in-game interview, manager Craig Counsell was essentially asked what the Cubs would need to see by the end of Spring Training to decide that Christopher Morel is good to go at third base. Instead of answering it quite that way, Counsell instead suggested that the Cubs aren’t quite looking at the decision that way – they just want to get him the consistent reps at one spot right now, and then see what’s what when they have to. This isn’t about Morel proving he can handle the job for the full season, and any decision that happens to be made initially in April doesn’t necessarily have to last the rest of the year. It’s all an ongoing evaluation, Counsell said, and don’t forget that Morel could also continue to improve defensively during the regular season.
  • Of note on all that, Patrick Mooney wrote about Morel, Counsell, and third base, and reminds folks that this was not necessarily the organizational plan for Morel. He was going to move around again, or maybe just be the DH. But Counsell came in and wanted to see Morel get focused time at third base, so the change in course was made. Here’s hoping Counsell winds up right on that (it’s certainly what I’ve wanted to see!), but it sounds like he is going to be very flexible in his approach. That’s all you can ask for from a manager, and it’s also important to note that Counsell is already empowered by the front office to make a pretty significant move like that. Wouldn’t have expected otherwise, given Counsell’s stature and contract and hybrid coach/front office role, but this is him making a decision that has potential long-term, organization-wide impacts. (So, again, another reason why it’s good to have a patient, flexible, noncommital approach in February to what’s going to happen in April and beyond.)
  • Morel also crushed a homer, of course, and he’s a sleeper to lead the league, which is humorous but not that impossible given that he hit 37 homers in just 136 games last year between Triple-A and MLB (26 in 107 MLB games):
  • https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/1761188694940164444

  • Counsell is going to make even more Cubs fan friends with comments like this:
  • https://twitter.com/WatchMarquee/status/1761222774025044353

  • It’s literally different here, Counsell is saying. No direct shade to the Brewers intended, of course …
  • Jordan Wicks feels good about his spring debut, on which he mostly focused on working all of his pitches, trying out certain unspecified things, and seeing improved spin on his pitches:
  • Watching the game yesterday – our first look at the new jerseys on a typical broadcast, with game action – it was unfortunately very noticeable how bad the jerseys look. A particularly striking example (that might be SLIGHTLY exaggerated because one is a photo and one is a screen-grab, but still):
  • As for the see-through pants debacle, MLB is claiming there is no such thing:
  • I suppose it’s POSSIBLE we were looking more closely at pants shots this year because of the jersey tops being an issue, but there certainly have been some seriously-see-through shots this year.
  • I absolutely respect the effort, and if you’ve already got the custom jersey, eff it, just wear it (maybe his last name is Ohtani):
  • This might be one of the most dominant major college pitching performances ever (and he did this on only 78 pitches against a top team(!!!)):
  • The draft rankings I’ve seen have Hagen Smith in the 15 to 30 range, but if he keeps doing things like this, he’s going to fly up. The Cubs pick at 14, by the way, and have a history of lots of scouting at Arkansas. Just tossing that out there.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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