Chicago Cubs: Will Tommy La Stella be on the Opening Day roster?

If you’re a fan of the Chicago Cubs then you know the whole saga between this club and La Stella. After getting sent down to the minors, La Stella refused to report to Iowa. Instead, he returned home to New Jersey and kept training.

When the Chicago Cubs called him up before September, La Stella stated that his refusal to report stemmed from his lack of enjoyment of baseball, and he was contemplating retirement at the same time.

La Stella was on the postseason roster for the NLDS but was taken off afterward. Now, with all of this drama surrounding him, what does his future hold?

During the 2014 offseason, La Stella first became a Cub when he came over to the North Side in a trade from the Braves. Chicago acquired him in exchange for Arodys Vizcaino and some international signing spots.

He missed most of the 2015 season due to injury, but, he’s been a reliable bat off the bench during his tenure with the Cubs. Not to mention, La Stella can play multiple positions, which is what the Cubs’ front office and manager Joe Maddon love.

The concerns in 2017 for La Stella are whether he will be able to play enough due to Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist being super utility men. Will La Stella be a good presence in the clubhouse? Will he still be motivated after everything that went on last year? These are questions that will need to be answered.

Utility man

La Stella is what you want in a bench player, offensively. He rarely strikes out, will usually put the ball in play, and has the ability to work the count which leads to drawing walks. A philosophy that fits with what the Cubs want to do – make pitchers work.

In 2016, La Stella hit at a .270/.357/.405 line, which is more than acceptable from a bench player. However, his strikeout rate was the highest it ever was, at 16%, which is a bit alarming. He hit .400 in April before leveling out the rest of the season.

Tommy definitely brings some much-needed value to this team. But, the Cubs are very deep. The depth begs the question if there really is a spot for La Stella in 2017.

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