It’s shaping up as a busy off-season for the Cubs as they look to push on with their rebuild and improve on their 74-88 record in 2022. According to remarks made by president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer to Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs are expecting to add a starting center fielder, while Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the team has been one of the most active early on in the shortstop market.
“We have guys internally that will certainly play out there [in center],” Hoyer said, “but I think the lion’s share might come from external.”
Rafael Ortega and Christopher Morel had the bulk of the playing time in center this past season, but while both are under club control for next season, Hoyer’s comments make it pretty clear that neither are seen as their center fielder moving forward. Ortega hit .241/.331/.358 with seven home runs, while Morel posted a .235/.308/.433 line with 16 home runs in his rookie campaign. Morel bounced around the infield positions as well, but neither posted positive defensive marks for their work in center.
A number of the Cubs top prospects are outfielders, but they’re at varying stages of their development. Their top prospect, according to Fangraphs, Pete Crowe-Armstrong is at High-A while Kevin Alcantara (third) is at Single-A. Brennen Davis and Alexander Canario are their best outfield prospects at Triple-A, but both are injured and uncertain timelines.