As you know, the non-waiver trade deadline passed on August 1, but that doesn’t mean trades are impossible here in August. Teams are scouring the trade waiver wire this month to try and make final additions to the club in advance of the September push and, they hope, the playoffs.
Absent a catastrophic wave of injuries – fingers crossed on the bullpen – the Chicago Cubs didn’t figure to be among the more active teams in August. After all, the roster is so overloaded that they cannot accommodate every big league-caliber player they already have.
About that, though.
With Tommy La Stella deciding what he wants to do with his future after being optioned to AAA Iowa and instead heading home to New Jersey, the only left bats regularly on the Cubs’ bench are catcher Miguel Montero and outfielder Chris Coghlan. The latter hasn’t appeared in a game since August 3, and the former is not always available to hit, given the possibility of late-game catching needs.
In short, when September rolls around, the Cubs may want an additional lefty bat available on the big league roster, and it’s not entirely clear that bat will come from La Stella. So, then, the Cubs will at least have to be aware of activity on the waiver wire, and see if there’s an opportunity for a low-cost, low-risk addition like they made last year with outfielder Austin Jackson and pitcher Fernando Rodney.
GM Jed Hoyer conceded as much (CSN): “We have to think through things from the organization’s standpoint, and having really good left-handed bats potentially off the bench is really important for us …. As we look at things, we love our depth right now, and I think that may not necessitate a move. But certainly we would have to look for left-handed bats to make sure that we are prepared for a good right-handed reliever late in the season.”
Ideally, things get worked out with La Stella, he mends whatever fences need mending, and he comes back ready to roll down the stretch. I highly doubt the Cubs will be able to add a better left-handed bat this month (even if a better one becomes available, the cost would be noteworthy when you’re talking about a bench addition for a month and possibly the playoffs). La Stella is almost certainly the best, realistic option right now.
But if that’s not going to happen, for one reason or another, the Cubs need to be ready to made an outside addition if the right opportunity presents itself.