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Why haven’t the Cubs signed this guy yet, Part 2: Tommy La Stella

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He’d be a perfect fit.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

There are some things I’ll never understand about how the Cubs front office works.

In 2018, Tommy La Stella overall had a mediocre season for the Cubs: .266/.340/331 (45-for-169). But among those 45 hits were 24 pinch hits, a franchise record, and TLS hit .312/.398/.416 (24-for-77, nine walks) as a pinch-hitter.

La Stella was arbitration-eligible in 2019, but instead of keeping him and making him an arb offer, they traded him to the Angels for minor-league Conor Lillis-White, who never pitched a single game in the Cubs organization and was released last May.

TLS made $1.35 million in 2019, a breakout season where he made the AL All-Star team and hit 16 home runs in 80 games.

Instead of TLS, the Cubs signed Daniel Descalso, paid him slightly more to play poorly in 2019 ($1.5 million), even more in 2020 to not play at all ($2.5 million) and $1 million as a 2021 buyout.

Obviously they could have kept La Stella for a lot less than they paid Descalso and had better production.

Then they could have repatriated TLS at the trading deadline last August, when the Angels put him on the trading block. He went to the Athletics for Franklin Barreto, a spare-part infielder of no great repute. Instead, the Cubs traded for Jose Martinez, ostensibly because they wanted a RH hitter. As you know, Martinez was worthless to the Cubs.

Now the Cubs have a third chance to correct the mistake they made letting TLS go, and I hope they take it. I wrote about La Stella here in November:

TLS made $3.25 million in 2020. I’d think somewhere in that range could get him signed for 2021. After the strange situation that resulted in him going home instead of reporting to Iowa when he was sent down in 2016, he appeared to be a good teammate and popular in the clubhouse, even pulling pranks on Theo Epstein in 2018 when he had this kids’ bouncy house placed in Theo’s parking space at Sloan Park:

Al Yellon

Two months after I wrote that article, I still think somewhere around $3 million would get it done to bring La Stella back to the Cubs. He’d be a useful second baseman and can also play third base; maybe a platoon with Nico Hoerner would work at second to begin the season.

Get it done, Jed. Make up for your former boss’ mistake.


Tommy La Stella...

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    ... should be signed by the Cubs for the amount listed in the article
    (624 votes)
  • 15%
    ... should be signed by the Cubs for some other amount
    (135 votes)
  • 9%
    ... should not be signed by the Cubs
    (78 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (8 votes)
845 votes total Vote Now