When the Chicago Cubs traded Chris Coghlan to the Oakland A’s in Spring Training, it was something of a considerable surprise, and came mostly out of nowhere.
Of course, when word broke that Dexter Fowler was re-signing with the Cubs only a few minutes later, the Coghlan deal made perfect sense.
Well, it happened again today, as the Cubs announced that they’ve re-acquired Coghlan from the A’s for Arismendy Alcantara. Which, whoa. And, unfortunately, multiple reports indicate that Tommy La Stella may need to go on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, which makes the acquisition of a left-handed bench bat a lot more sensible, especially in the outfield, where Jorge Soler is out with his own hamstring injury.
There’s a lot to unpack there, and we’ll have to do that in the coming days.
The Wife and are doing our vacation thing, so I’ll just give you the high points for now:
- La Stella, who missed most of last season with an oblique injury, was hitting .291/.378/.494 (134 wRC+) in part-time duty this year as the Cubs’ go-to lefty bench bat. He was providing quite a bit of value to the Cubs, so him having to miss time – hamstring issues, as we know, can be really tricky – is not good.
- Coghlan broke out with the Cubs for two years before being traded this offseason for Aaron Brooks (and, let’s be honest, to save some salary and roster room for Dexter Fowler (Brooks has been injured with a hip issue since Spring Training)). He was always criminally underrated with the Cubs, can play very good defense in the corner outfield spots, and had a legitimately excellent bat in 2014 and 2015. However … as I mentioned in the Bullets earlier this week, he’s been one of the worst hitters in all of baseball this year (.146/.215/.272, 31(!) wRC+). Some of it might be bad luck, but the peripheral numbers are worse across the board, so something has been off for him this year. Hopefully he just needed to get back with the Cubs to turn things around, and can contribute meaningfully, especially in this stretch where the Cubs will be without Soler and La Stella.
- Alcantara, 24, was among the first of this wave of Cubs prospects breaking through, but he was also the first to really struggle once exposed to big league pitching – and not recover. Some serious approach issues emerged, as well as pitch recognition issues. He still has a great glove and great speed, but his .263/.313/.434 line this year in his third visit to AAA does not necessarily suggest he’s going to be able to turn it all around. I can understand the A’s wanting him, and I can understand the Cubs’ willingness to part with him at this stage for a bench piece.
As I said: more on this in the coming days. I’m still trying to digest it a bit. My gut says I’m glad Coghlan is back, I am hopeful the struggles this year can be fixed by adjustments/better luck/more comfort with Cubs, I wish Alcantara the best (but I don’t think it was ever going to happen with the Cubs), and I wish a trade wasn’t necessitated by injuries.