At long last, it seems like the Tommy La Stella situation is going to move forward, and in a positive direction.
In his weekly appearance on The Score with Spiegel and Goff, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that he believes Tommy La Stella is about ready to report to AA Tennessee, where he can get some at bats and get back into the swing of things. That would be a necessary first step for the utility infielder to return to the big league team, most likely on September 1 when rosters expand to the full 40-man roster.
Maddon earlier this week said that he was optimistic La Stella would eventually be back. You’ll recall, La Stella was optioned to the minors in late July thanks to a roster crunch, but never actually reported, instead going home to New Jersey. There, he was working through some things about his baseball life and future, and the Cubs gave him space to do so.
Assuming La Stella does what he needs to do to get back into a position to help the Cubs as an excellent lefty bat off the bench, and also does what he needs to do to make things right with his teammates (if anything), then I think fans will be very happy to have him back around. La Stella remains an excellent bet to make the Cubs’ playoff roster as one of the best lefty bats available to them off the bench.
We’ll see how this plays out, but I’d tentatively expect to see La Stella playing with the Smokies this weekend, and then things will proceed from there. He could eventually join the Iowa Cubs before coming back to the big league team in September, or if an injury opens things up sooner than that, he could be back to Chicago in late August. I wouldn’t read anything into the level to where he’s headed right now – the Smokies are at home, the I-Cubs are on the road. Probably nothing more to it than that. He just needs professional, in-game action.
Whenever he returns, La Stella will come back to a .295/.388/.457 (128 wRC+) batting line.
UPDATE: La Stella officially begins his minor league assignment tonight:
— Mick Gillispie (@BroadcasterMick) August 17, 2016