One of baseball’s best pinch-hitters is moving to the American League:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 29, 2018
The Cubs have traded infielder Tommy La Stella to the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named later or cash considerations. La Stella posted a .266/.340/.331 slash line in 192 plate appearances last year and owned a .273/.356/.397 triple slash in his four-year stint with the Cubs. The move also clears a roster space, as the 40-man now sits at 39.
Moving La Stella comes a day after the Cubs acquired utility infielder Ronald Torreyes in a trade with the Yankees.
As Brett noted in today’s Bullets, Torreyes looked like a candidate to replace La Stella, who has two more years of control via arbitration, as a bench option and now he has. Because even though La Stella was a superb pinch-hitter, his defensive limitations kept him from contributing beyond what his prowess at the plate brings. There are also financial considerations to be taken into account here, as Brett pointed out that Torreyes projects to make $300,000 less than La Stella based on arbitration estimations.
As the Cubs tweet points out, the return is going to be either a player to be named later or cash. If it is a PTBNL, I wouldn’t expect much. Indeed, I suspect the Cubs will only get a PTBNL after the Rule 5 Draft (it would, in that case, be a draft-eligible player who was not selected – likely not a big-time prospect).
This move doesn’t really reveal much of anything in terms of the Cubs’ intentions the rest of the way. There’s very little cost savings and the move improved the defensive depth, all of which we discussed after the original trade for Torreyes in the first place. In any case, Tommy “3:00 am” La Stella’s time in Chicago has come to an end.
Who’s going to tell Jesse Rogers?
Michael Cerami contributed to this post.