Cubs Could Entertain Offers for Nico Hoerner, Christopher Morel Once They Enter Sell Mode

The Cubs are 11 games behind the division-leading Brewers and 5.5 games out of the Wild Card with about 44% of the season left, but they haven’t decided on a path forward just yet. While the front office is certainly leaning toward selling, all of Major League Baseball is focused on the upcoming draft that was stupidly placed right in front of the trade deadline. Once Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins make their picks, expect them to start fielding calls for players who can help contenders down the stretch.

Not that the Cubs have too many pieces to move for much other than salary relief, unless Hoyer is serious about making some hard decisions. Cody Bellinger isn’t performing up to expectations and his player options for the next two years hurt his value a great deal. Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki have full no-trade clauses limiting their respective markets. Dansby Swanson…yeah, no.

But what if the organization is willing to take offers for Nico Hoerner and Christopher Morel? According to Matthew Trueblood of North Side Baseball, “those two have drawn teams’ interest” as rival executives believe the Cubs are leaning toward selling between the draft and deadline. Barring a big swing using some of his top prospects, controllable big leaguers may be the only way for Hoyer to net a strong return.

Even with their box score numbers looking like they could use iron supplements, Hoerner and Morel could serve as centerpieces of modest swaps or sweeteners in a Bellinger-based deal. As unthinkable as it would have been to discuss Hoerner’s inclusion even a few months ago, the rapid ascension of Matt Shaw through the system could give the Cubs an instant replacement with a great deal more power. Morel is even more expendable given his poor play at third base, plus he’s cheaper and is under club control through 2028.

Or, you know, they could just keep Shaw in the minors and roll with David Bote and Miles Mastrobuoni the rest of the way. Sexy.

However the Cubs choose to address their long-term future, selling at the deadline appears to be inevitable. That should clear up a little salary for offseason moves, though probably not enough for a pursuit of Juan Soto, and a few 40-man spots for top prospects to come up for the last two months of the season. That said, I’m very skeptical of Hoyer’s willingness and ability to make the kinds of aggressive moves necessary to make the Cubs contenders again and won’t be surprised by a relatively blah trade season.

Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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