The Cubs announced a rather surprising trade Sunday afternoon. The Cubs acquired INF Tommy La Stella from the Braves for RHP Arodys Vizcaino. The Cubs also sent three International bonus slots to the Braves. Slot No. 2 ($458,000), slot No. 3 ($309,300) and slot No. 4 (206,700). The Cubs received the Braves No. 4 slot worth $142,000. The Braves added $832,000 to its pool in the swap of the International bonus pool money.
Tommy La Stella made his big league debut for the Braves in 2014 and has played his entire pro career exclusively at second base. So, not more than five minutes after the trade hit the wire, the speculation began that the addition of La Stella set-up the Cubs to use either Starlin Castro or Javier Baez in a trade to acquire pitching.
Jed Hoyer addressed the trade with the beat writers. Hoyer said the Cubs have liked La Stella for a while and “tried to trade for him several times in the past.” Hoyer explained that La Stella is “left-handed, gets on base, and doesn’t strikeout a lot.” Three things the front office is trying to add to the roster.
Hoyer told ESPN Chicago, “This wasn’t a precursor to anything. Sometimes you have to acquire guys that can get on base. It’s something we needed.”
Hoyer explained the Cubs were able to deal Arodys Vizcaino due to the depth of relievers at the big league level and in the system.
The Tribune reported La Stella “could work out at other positions” namely third base despite the fact he’s played his entire career at second base. The Cubs still see Starlin Castro at short and Javier Baez at second base on Opening Night against the Cardinals.
Baseball America called Tommy La Stella “one of the best pure hitting prospects in the minors” after he was promoted to the big leagues in May to replace Dan Uggla (h/t to @thecubreporter for the link). La Stella “uses the whole field and is a pest to pitchers because of his hand-eye coordination that allows him to work deep counts.” La Stella can hit, defensively he “has limited range and an average arm,” but can make routine plays. Against lefties in the big leagues, La Stella batted .311/.391/.426 in 69 plate appearances with a .818 OPS, versus righties just a .236/.313/.291 slash line in 291 plate appearances. In 93 games, La Stella walked 36 times with 40 strikeouts.
With the more roster decisions and moves on the horizon, the Cubs 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players after Sunday’s trade.
The Cost to Acquire Cole Hamels?
Jim Bowden looked at four teams that could trade for Cole Hamels this winter and what a realistic package of prospects each club would have to surrender to acquire him. Bowden pointed out the Phillies might have to wait until Jon Lester and Max Scherzer are signed before trading Hamels. And Ruben Amaro Jr. will “eventually have to lower his sights” for what he can get back for Hamels.
Bowden said the Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals and Red Sox are the four teams with the prospects to make a deal and the money to take his contract back (four years, $96 million guaranteed).
From the Cubs, Bowden thinks the conversation will start with the Phillies asking for three players from a group that could include C.J. Edwards, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler. Once Amaro Jr. knows Bryant, Baez, Soler and Russell are not available, the conversations could shift to Edwards and Albert Almora. Once the Phillies balk, Bowden thinks a package of C.J. Edwards, Billy McKinney and Albert Almora would be enough to complete the deal for Cole Hamels from the Phillies.
- Full Report from ESPN.com (subscription only)
News, Notes and Rumors
According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, with the Braves reacquiring Arodys Vizcaino from the Cubs, John Hart could look to deal Jordan Walden or David Carpenter.
In an interview Sunday morning on The Front Office (MLB Network Radio), Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels told Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden his focus on improving the Rangers has been on the trade front … the same for most of the teams he spoke with during the GM Meetings.
The Indians are looking to add depth in the starting rotation and a bat this winter. Chris Antonneti told Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden in an interview Sunday the Indians “have made a lot of progress on the trade front” but they are not close to a deal right now.
According to a report from CBS Sports that cited Darren Wolfson as its source, the Twins have inquired about Justin Masterson.
It was another busy weekend for the Chicago Cubs. Rumors continued to swirl about the Cubs being the favorites to sign Russell Martin and Jon Lester. But for every report that suggested the front office would land its top two free agent targets, there were ones that indicated the Dodgers and Red Sox had the upper hand.
Baseball Prospectus created headlines when Addison Russell was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Cubs system ahead of Kris Bryant in its top 10 Cubs prospects list.
The Cubs could be inching closer to a reunion with WGN-TV, and speaking of TV. ESPN 2 decided to pick-up the Cubs first game of the season. The Cubs will host the Cardinals on Sunday night, April 5 for the first game of Major League Baseball season.
And the front office wrapped up the weekend by acquiring second baseman Tommy La Stella from the Braves.
Here are the headlines of the reports with all of the news and rumors from the weekend:
- Report: Cubs Talking to Tribune Media about Televising Games Next Season on WGN
- Cubs Prospects Had a Good Fall in Arizona and News from Down on the Farm
- The Daily CCO: Dodgers Very Much in the Mix for Russell Martin? And Other Cubs News and Rumors
- Cubs 2015 Season Opener Moved to Sunday for MLB Opening Night
- Baseball Prospectus: 2015 Cubs Top 10 Prospects
- Report: Cubs Could Place a Bid for Korean LHP Hyeon-Jong Yang
- Cubs’ Joe Maddon Enjoys Being Part of the Free Agent Process
- The Daily CCO: Lester’s Agents Talked to Kansas City, Hammel is Looking for a Three-Year Deal and Other Cubs News
- Cubs Had Strong Scouting Presence at Yoan Moncada’s Showcase
- Cubs Viewed as a Force in the Market, Keeping All Options Open to Improve the Roster
- The Daily CCO: Phillies Might Have to Alter Expectations to Trade Cole Hamels and Cubs News and Rumors
- Cubs Reported as a Possible Suitor for RHP Kenta Maeda
- From the Wire: Cubs Acquire INF Tommy La Stella from Braves for RHP Arodys Vizcaino
- Cubs Reportedly Clear Front-Runner to Sign Russell Martin
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Kris Bryant was named MVP of the Arizona Fall League
2011 – Dale Sveum was named the 52nd manager in franchise history. Sveum replaced Mike Quade in the dugout.
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Scott Rice
2010 – Cubs released Micah Hoffpauir
2000 – Cubs released Ben Ford
1992 – Cubs traded Alex Arias and Gary Scott to the Marlins for Greg Hibbard
1992 – Rockies selected Joe Girardi from the Cubs in the 1992 expansion draft
1992 – Rockies selected Ryan Hawblitzel from the Cubs in the 1992 expansion draft
1983 – Scott Moore, born
1978 – Darnell McDonald, born
1969 – Cubs traded Oscar Gamble and Dick Selma to the Phillies for a PTBNL and Johnny Callison. The Phillies sent Larry Colton to the Cubs in January 1970 to complete the trade.
1964 – Mitch Williams, born
1949 – Cubs selected Johnny Klippstein from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft
1947 – Cubs selected Dewey Adkins from Atlanta (Southern Association) in the minor league draft
1942 – Cubs purchased Bennie Warren from the Phillies
1940 – Jimmie Wilson is named manager of the Cubs