Christopher Morel will not be attending Cubs Convention this weekend, which is understandable given the nasty weather descending upon Chicagoland and much of the Midwest. It might even prevent me from going and all I’ve got to do is drive. But what would have been a totally understandable absence were we talking about a former player or someone under contract with a no-trade clause becomes something very different when it involves a guy who’s been the subject of rumors this offseason.
It didn’t help that Crawly tweeted out a GIF of Homer Simpson waving goodbye along with a note that he’s heard weather isn’t to blame.
— Crawly’s Cubs Kingdom (@crawlyscubs) January 12, 2024
This alone would have been enough to send social media speculation into overdrive, but the added context of the Cubs’ earlier trade with the Dodgers made the possibility of a Morel move that much more real. The centerpiece of that deal is Michael Busch, a slugging infielder who immediately jumped to the No. 3 spot in the team’s prospect rankings and is expected to break camp with the big club this spring.
Busch played mainly third base last year but may be viewed as the presumptive Opening-Day first baseman, so Morel would be limited either way. The Cubs also have Nick Madrigal and Patrick Wisdom on the roster, giving them plenty of infield depth. Mind you, I’m not making a comparison between what those two bring to the table and what Morel is or could be.
As for the speculation, Joe Johnson from Obvious Shirts chimed in to say Morel’s absence was not due to the weather — players typically arrive a day or two early — or an imminent trade, though he later admitted Crawly might have different intel. I probably should have pointed this out to those who might not really be familiar with these guys, but both are very plugged in to the Cubs scene.
Crawly is particularly ingrained in CubsCub goings-on and he’s never more in his element than he will be this weekend. Even though most of his scoops will deal with the convention itself, he’ll definitely pick up some more info here and there. That said, Morel himself seemingly confirmed that weather was the reason he’s not in Chicago when he responded to a fan’s question on Instagram. The flip side is that a player who’s told he may be traded probably isn’t going to share that via DM.
So is this a whole lot of nothing or the precursor to a big deal that sees Jed Hoyer acquire a player or two? I tend to lean toward the former because this would be a pretty loud tell, relatively speaking, and we’re talking about a front office that moves in complete silence. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.