Tommy La Stella was a victim of baseball rules when the Chicago Cubs sent him down to the minor leagues recently, but the infielder still isn’t taking news of his demotion well.
Instead of reporting to Des Moines to play with the Triple-A Cubs, La Stella decided to go home to New Jersey to keep in shape. That move reportedly isn’t sitting well with Cubs brass, and manager Joe Maddon addressed the controversy on a local radio show Tuesday.
“We’ve been talking to him,” Maddon told 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. He’s working out back near his home in New Jersey. So we’re just waiting for him to decide exactly what he wants to do.”
When a player is sent to the minor leagues, they have 72 hours to report to the team unless they’re given permission by the big league club. It’s unclear whether La Stella told the Cubs he didn’t intend to report to Des Moines, but what is clear is that he’ll have to when and if the Cubs decide that they want to bring him back up to the majors.
“In order to ameliorate the clubhouse, you can’t take him from there (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.”
The Cubs sent La Stella down to the minor leagues when they activated Chris Coghlan from the disabled list on July 29. The reason for the demotion wasn’t because of La Stella’s play specifically, but rather because he had options left and didn’t have to clear waivers, while Coghlan and Matt Szczur both would’ve been exposed to another team claiming them had the Cubs opted to try sending them to the minor leagues.
If the Cubs do end up deciding to bring La Stella back, they’ll likely have to wait until Sept. 1, barring an injury to another player. On that date, teams can expand their rosters to up to 40 players, and it would make sense for the Cubs to want another reserve infielder that can spell players like Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, and Javier Baez.