The Chicago Cubs made an interesting move in their effort to create a well-rounded team by signing Edwin Rios to a one-year, one-million-dollar contract. The left-handed hitter provides a balance to the right-hand dominant lineup while also adding potential defensive depth at third base.
While Rios brings a proven track record of offensive success, where does this leave Patrick Wisdom and Christopher Morel? Wisdom has spent considerable time at third base but can also play the outfield and first base. Morel, on the other hand, has been used more as a utility player, playing in multiple positions, including shortstop, third base, second base, and center field.
Despite their versatility, both Wisdom and Morel have similar career offensive numbers compared to Rios.
The Cubs plan to create a championship-caliber team that involves building both defensive and offensive depth. That depth looks like we’ll be seeing Dansby Swanson and Nico Horner locked in at shortstop and second base, Yan Gomes and Tucker Barnhart sharing time behind the dish, Trey Mancini and Eric Hosmer at first base and Ian Happ, Cody Bellinger, and Seiya Suzuki roaming the outfield. This brings me to my question… Who’s playing third (not first)?
Patrick Wisdom’s extensive experience at third base and his solid defensive record make him a strong contender for the starting position at third base over Edwin Rios and Christopher Morel. Although all three players have similar offensive numbers, Wisdom’s versatility on the field gives him an edge over the others. Wisdom brings more experience at the position playing 903 innings at third base in 2022. Wisdom’s fielding percentage of .953 and his hard-hit ball rate of 48.8% make him the more reliable option at third base for the Cubs.
On the other hand, Rios does bring a left-handed bat and a potentially solid glove at third base, which means Wisdom and Morel could have to compete for playing time and contribute to the team’s success from whichever position they are asked to play. Overall, the Cubs are looking to create a winning formula that is balanced, flexible, and able to withstand the rigors of a long season.