Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella was demoted to AAA on July 29th. He still hasn’t reported to the Iowa Cubs because he’s apparently quite upset about the demotion, despite the fact that it was just a baseball move and that he’d be back in the majors with Chicago sooner rather than later.
According to CBS Chicago and Cubs manager Joe Maddon, La Stella went back to his home in New Jersey after not taking the demotion too well.
“We’ve been talking to him,” Maddon said on the Spiegel and Goff Show on 670 The Score. “I’ve texted and talked to him, and we’ve had other folks talk to him also. Right now, I don’t have any kind of conclusion for you honestly. He’s working out back near his home in New Jersey. He’s hitting, he’s running, those kinds of things. So we’re just waiting for him to decide exactly what he wants to do. Of course, in order to ameliorate the clubhouse, you can’t take him from there (in New Jersey) and bring him right back to the club. He’s probably going to have to settle and go back to Triple-A at some point if that’s what he wants to do.
“Listen, we all have different agendas in our life. We all interpret everything differently. Pretty much, the ball is literally in Tommy’s court right now. We love having him here. He’s a great teammate. He’s a very good player. Do we want to have him back? Absolutely, but pretty much, it’s his decision that he has to make for himself.”
It’s obviously La Stella’s right not to report to AAA if he doesn’t want to, for whatever reason.
But let’s be honest here – Tommy La Stella isn’t Kris Bryant. He’s not Anthony Rizzo. Hell, he’s not even Jorge Soler. He’s a 27-year old bench bat with a .263/.341/.358 line, four home runs, and four stolen bases in 177 career games. Players like La Stella are promoted and demoted every day.
Maddon also said that La Stella could be weighing what’s next in his life after the demotion, which seems like a big of a strong reaction.
“It was just a matter of once we went ahead and did it, it’s just probably his personality, viewing his baseball life in general,” Maddon said. “It’s just what he’s thinking and what he wants his next step to be regarding his career path in baseball or otherwise. There’s no animosity whatsoever. It’s really the same conversation. It’s just a young man in a situation now trying to weigh his different options.”
La Stella has only played second and third during his career. Javier Baez can do that, along with playing short and providing more help both defensively and offensively. If La Stella just accepted his assignment and went down to AAA for the final month of the season, he would’ve been back up in the majors when the rosters expanded in September – if not earlier.
However, that’s a bit of a question now. I don’t think the Cubs are going to completely punt on La Stella (right now, at least), but if he doesn’t report to Iowa soon, can the Cubs really count on him to contribute during the stretch run?