On July 29, the Chicago Cubs optioned Tommy La Stella to the Iowa Cubs to make room on the roster for Chris Coghlan. It was a tough move for sure and there was no really good way to handle the situation.
On one hand, they had a guy in Coghlan whom they’d recently traded from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Arismendy Alcantera. In 2014 and 2015, Coghlan played well for the Cubs and Joe Maddon has a lot of confidence in him, even if he hasn’t played well so far this season, slashing just .158/.253/.276 over 229 plate appearances.
On the other hand, there’s the 27 year-old Tommy La Stella. He’s been a solid left-handed bat for the Cubs, slashing .295/.388/.457 over 122 plate appearances. He’s built nicely on his 2015 season and been excelling lately. Most recently, Joe had been using Tommy in the lead-off spot in Dexter Fowler’s stead, where he’s hitting .429/.500/.714. Of course that was only 21 at-bats, but it’s the most recent batting data from Tommy we have to go off of, and it was very good.
Tommy was understandably upset when Joe told him he was being optioned to triple-A Iowa. That happened on July 29, one week ago on Friday.
Normally a player has 72 hours to report after they’ve been optioned. Tommy didn’t show. There was no official word from the Cubs about what was going on but word did get out that the team was allowing Tommy to report later, beyond the traditional 72 hours.
The general consensus seemed to be that he’d join the team when they finished their road trip and landed back in Des Moines. They returned on Wednesday and there’s still no sign of him. And then this.
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) August 6, 2016
There’s no sugar coating that report. That sounds bad, really bad and pretty troubling. No one knows exactly what is going on here. I’ve asked around and there is no one, it seems, with a shred of information on what is going on with Tommy.
We hope this isn’t because he’s disappointed about his demotion. The optics suggest as much but I really hope it’s not the case. I really like Tommy and I’ve always thought he had a great approach and attitude, a team attitude.
Right now, this is an extremely fluid situation that could change any moment. Of course, we’ll continue to monitor things and let you know as soon as we find out any more information.