Joe Maddon Speaks About the Tommy La Stella Situation

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Joe Maddon Speaks About the Tommy La Stella Situation

Chicago Cubs
[UPDATE: Tommy La Stella has been placed on the temporarily inactive list.]

Today, on his usual appearance on The Score’s Spiegel and Goff show, Joe Maddon addressed the Tommy La Stella situation, providing some additional information that I want to share with folks here, because I know you’re interested.

That said, until and unless we learn something more concrete, and I’m finished trying to read between the lines on this one. Every indicator we’ve received suggests a simple series of events: the Cubs optioned La Stella because of a really tough roster crunch, La Stella understandably took the news poorly, La Stella was granted extra time to report to AAA Iowa, La Stella has still not reported, he might not report, and the Cubs are permitting this response to an otherwise routine minor league option. To me, that series of events strains belief without more information. It seems so obvious and simple, yes, but that kind of thing just doesn’t happen. And since I can’t piece it together with more nuance, I’m not going to try. There has to be more information that we may or may not ever receive.

La Stella is a quality big league-caliber player. A really nice bench piece on a team like the Cubs, and a borderline starter on a number of other clubs. For those reasons, I hope this all resolves itself well. It would be really crummy to lose a guy with that kind of value and several years of team control left when the very purpose of the option in the first place was to try and preserve as many players in the organization as possible.

In any case, The Score and Nick Shepkowski did a good job tweeting out Maddon’s comments, so here they are – take them as you will:

So, there you go. I don’t think it’s responsible or helpful for me to speculate on any of that. There it is. We’ll await more details.

EDIT: Folks are asking, and although I’ve written it before, I am not sure where in this saga I mentioned it. So I’ll put it here again: yes, there are contractual implications here. If La Stella were up the whole year, there was a chance – not a guarantee, but a chance – he would qualify as a Super Two, and thus get four years of arbitration instead of the usual three (there are no team control implications here; he’s projected to reach free agency at the same time with or without this option). Important caveate: If he is optioned for fewer than 20 days, however, that does not wind up costing an option year and he does get service time credit for those days, even though he was off the 25-man roster. (Great options information available from the inimitable Arizona Phil at TCR.) So, if La Stella is back within the next week or so, he would not lose any service time, and this year wouldn’t count as an option year. For what it’s worth.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.