Chicago Cubs: It’s time to be honest about Tommy La Stella

It’s been over two weeks since the Chicago Cubs activated Chris Coghlan and sent Tommy La Stella down to Iowa. La Stella had options, most fans understood that. But La Stella didn’t seem to care. It’s become about more than just “being upset”, it’s a full-blown tantrum.

This Chicago Cubs team is so well put together. The perfect arrangement of rookies and veterans, stars and role players. Tommy La Stella fit perfectly with that blend. When he was upset about being demoted in place of Chris Coghlan, I totally got it. My comment was “if you aren’t disappointed, you shouldn’t be playing the game.” But then it all got..well, strange from there.

La Stella refused to report to Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs had supposedly given him some more time to deal with some things on a personal level. Then it seemed as if no one knew where La Stella was.

I think many fans started to have a real level of concern for his well-being. And then slowly it leaked out that La Stella hadn’t reported because he didn’t WANT to. He didn’t want to play anywhere else–even Iowa. 

“I’m not going to go play for someone else. That’s not something I have any interest in doing. I’m here for a reason. This is where I want to be…I’m just waiting to hear back from the team and keeping up with all the workouts and training and hitting.”

I can appreciate his love for this team and wanting to be a part of it, I can. But you’re putting the Cubs in a terrible position, especially when it’s very clear you’ll be up again in September. But now with what is essentially a tantrum, the team may have to look at other options for a left-handed hitter off the bench. Maybe Coghlan–irony there if he can–finds his stroke from last year and fills that role.

Will he be ready?

La Stella isn’t seeing game action. He’ll need at-bats, and they aren’t going to come in Chicago. Joe Maddon was clear about it recently as well.

“I think it was very clear how he felt,” Maddon said. “I think we were very clear back to him how we felt. … I’m still very optimistic about him coming back, but nothing has changed.” h/t Jesse Rogers, ESPN

While he claims there’s no animosity, and that each side understands each other, he’s holding the Cubs hostage. La Stella has been relied upon off the bench, and the only reason he was sent down was because he had options to use, Coghlan didn’t. He knows it’s a business decision the team is making, yet he’s making it a personal one on his side.

In the end, I hope La Stella reports to Iowa, gets some at-bats and returns to Chicago in a few weeks. But no one knows what he’s going to do right now, and that’s part of the problem.