Chicago Cubs: Where does Tommy La Stella fit into the 2018 plans?
By Erik Mauro
Calling Tommy La Stella‘s time with the Chicago Cubs smooth would be a flat lie. Fans are consistently split on the role player who has an interesting role in 2018.
During the Chicago Cubs’ historic 2016 run, Tommy La Stella issued a black eye in the eyes of some fans. Instead of reporting to Triple-A Iowa as assigned, he refused, going home for a couple weeks instead before rosters expanded in September. Of course, he then rejoined the big-league club and put up very solid numbers over the course of the 2017 campaign.
Still, he’s never gotten consistent playing time – either at the plate or on the field. Now that he’s back on the bench, where does he fit heading into 2018?
Since coming to the Cubs in 2015, La Stella posted a .276/.363/.429 slash-line. Good, right? That’s also in just 395 plate appearances, in three seasons. What the Cubs really like about LaStella is that he doesn’t really strike out. In those 395 plate appearances, he only has 52 strikeouts, so he will put the bat on the ball. That’s a good trait to have off the bench, especially since the Cubs have had a problem with striking out the past few seasons. Tommy doesn’t have much power to his name, either, crushing just nine home runs in 755 career plate appearances.
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As mentioned, in 2016, LaStella was sent down to Iowa, but never reported. He questioned whether he still had his passion for the game of baseball, and really thought about retiring. He did return to the Cubs, however, and ended up getting a World Series ring in the process, which the Cubs won. People forget that. So, one could say it worked out pretty well for him.
Going forward in 2018
The Cubs are going to make moves this offseason. It’s as simple as that.
Pitching is the most rumored move, as the Cubs are set on offense for the next four-to-five years. The unfortunate truth is that there are only 25 available spots on a Major League roster. If the Cubs make enough moves, La Stella may be the odd man out yet again.
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That may not be the worst thing in the world, for the Cubs or for La Stella. It would give Tommy a chance to showcase his skills on another team, probably while getting more playing time as well. One thing is for sure – both sides could use a fresh start after everything that has happened during his time in Chicago.