The Chicago Cubs have depth, but there are problems that it can create. The recent “disappearance” of Tommy La Stella is one that can be attributed to it.
La Stella hit .295/.495/.846 this year in 51 games with the Cubs, while Coghlan has struggled to maintain his .200/.289/.687 slash line in his 23 games.
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Typically, when a player is optioned, they have 72 hours to report to their team. La Stella told the Chicago Cubs his absence is due to personal reasons. The team granted La Stella extra time, though Iowa manager Marty Pevey still doesn’t know when he will arrive
“But these are good ones. Hopefully, no one is going to get hurt. But we’re just trying to keep all that in mind.” Maddon continued.
These ‘good decisions’ point out a good problem for the Cubs to have: their depth can act like handcuffs, leaving the team exposed—at times—on defense.
The Cubs defense has been average this season, though they have spectacular talent at every position. They currently rank in the middle of the league in total defense, errors, and fielding percentage. Seven players have played three or more positions this season, by far the most in the league. The next closest team is the Nationals, with three.
Having position players is always a good thing for a club, but having too many can be worrisome. Most position players will tell you that they sleep easier knowing where they will be playing the next morning. The Cubs’ 5-15 slide going into the All-Star break, losing games by 6+ runs to the Pirates and Mets, is a great example of the problems that can occur. The pitchers did give up an astounding amount of home runs during that stretch, but those didn’t produce all of the runs scored against the team.
Maddon explained the club’s moves by saying, “we just decided to go in this direction right now and now figure to have it covered in other ways coming up. We just got to keep playing through it and that we’re covered if something happens.”