The Tommy La Stella Roster Spot Question and Other Bullets

tommy la stella cubsThe Little Boy is transitioning from his little potty to more frequently using the regular potty, and doing so with some measure of autonomy. Frequently, it’s great, because then I don’t have to do the gross cleaning thing inside his little potty. I ran into one big caveat today, though, when I saw that he hadn’t flushed the big potty, and there in the toilet were the baby wipes he’d used to clean himself. Baby wipes, of course, you cannot flush down the toilet. So I had to fish them out. With my hand.

Worst part? Turns out I was wrong, and it was just toilet paper, which disintegrated in my hand. Parenting!

  • The always-readable Grant Brisbee wrote about the 10 baseball stories from 2016 that were a huge deal at the time, but have since fallen off our radars. He’s right on all 10, and it’s a really enjoyable read. One of the 10 stories is the whole Tommy La Stella thing – you’ll remember that huge deal – and, although it didn’t necessarily blow over, it did fall off the table of conversation because there was never going to be a fully-satisfying conclusion. It was always just going to have to “be finished,” and everyone had to move on with the rest of the season. That happened, the Cubs won it all, but now we have to ponder the implications going forward.
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  • Given that La Stella indicated he was close to leaving the game before the 2016 season, and returned only to be part of this particular Cubs team (and then initially refused to go to AAA Iowa in August because he did not want to play baseball anywhere but with this particular Cubs team), it’s fair to wonder how things are going to look in the Spring. In terms of baseball ability, La Stella at least approaches an easy “yes” for carrying on the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. He brings adequate infield defense and a quality lefty, high-contact bat. What will undoubtedly complicate things, however, is the fact that the Cubs plan to carry eight relievers, which would leave just four bench spots on the 25-man roster. If everyone is healthy, two of those spots are locked in by Miguel Montero and Javy Baez (it’s strange to even call them “bench” players, but that’s the structure). Another figures to go to Albert Almora Jr. or Matt Szczur. That would leave a final spot for La Stella, which is how I’d do things as I sit here today, but you can see that it’s tight. And La Stella has two minor league options remaining. So, if it was too tight, you’d normally say, “Well, the fact that La Stella can be optioned and kept is the tie-breaker”, since Szczur, for one example, cannot be optioned. But if the Cubs try to option La Stella to Iowa to open the season because of a roster crunch, will he actually go? Or will that be the end of the line for his playing days? Can the Cubs afford to enter into Spring Training letting this lack of clarity swirl? Can the Cubs count on La Stella playing in Chicago or in Des Moines, however the needs might dictate? I don’t, and can’t, know the answers to these questions just yet, but it’s worth teeing up as the calendar flips.
  • I knew the Nationals had been through some odd managerial stuff in the last decade, but it’s not until you read it all in one place that you really realize what a bizarre stretch it’s been. I’m reading about it here at MASN, in the context of Dusty Baker being a “lame duck” already (his two-year contract runs only through 2017). There was also the whole Bud Black mess before Baker was ultimately hired. Normally, given his success in 2016 and history of MLB success, you’d think it implausible that the Nationals would actually let Baker start the season as a lame duck, but history suggests that just have a really odd track record of dealing with managers.
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  • Just because:
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  • This morning, I wrote about the Cubs’ best pitching performance of the year (arguably), which took place in Game Six of the NLCS.
  • The Cubs’ ball boy was once asked by Rick Sutcliffe to find the “key” to the batter’s box. And the kid tried, and tried. That’s cold. And funny.
  • That’s a bummer for the Pelicans, so help them out:
  • The hand there is mine – remember these things? Truly, the Internet is unbelievable:
  • It exists! A desk/exercise bike combo! I hadn’t seen this before, until it was a deal of the day at Amazon. For years I tried to hack this together on my own, using a recumbent bike and a series of ineffective stands. I’d still want to do dedicated exercise time, obviously, but if I could also do some peddling while I’m sitting here typing (sitting on my stability ball chair (I am the worst, aren’t I?)), why not? Just have to find room.
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    written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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