The LaStella Legacy
It wasn't exactly A Day that Will Live in Infamy, but a year ago today the Cubs traded Tommy LaStella to the Angels for a PTBNL (who turned out to be LHRP Conor Lillis-White).
LaStella was one of the best pinch-hitters in the National League and had one of the best single-seasons of pinch-hitting in Cubs history in 2018 (312/396/416 with 5 2B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 2 HBP, 9/13 BB/K in 79 PA with an MLB-leading and Cubs single-season club record 24 pinch-hits), and then he hit a robust 295/346/488 with 16 HR in 80 games for LAA this past season (where he was the Angels' everyday 2B for the first half of the campaign, before missing the second half after suffering a broken leg on 7/2).
However, despite trading LaStella, the Cubs did have four of the better pinch-hitters in the National League (including two of the top six) in 2019.
Unfortunately, they also had five of the worst (including - THE - worst), which left them in the bottom third of the league overall in pinch-hitting
Cubs pinch-hitters in 2019 (sorted by PA, minimum 10 PA):
Tony Kemp: 290/421/548 with 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 HBP, 5/7 BB/K (38 PA combined HOU/CHC)
Daniel Descalso: 065/143/065 with 0 XBH, 1 RBI, 1 SF, 1 SH, 3/12 BB/K (36 PA)
David Bote: 304/407/435 with 3 2B, 4 RBI, 4/7 BB/K (27 PA)
Victor Caratini: 421/522/789 with 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 HBP, 3/5 BB/K (23 PA)
Albert Almora: 105/190/263 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 HBP, 1/4 BB/K (21 PA)
Mark Zagunis: 176/333/176 with 3 RBI, 4/12 BB/K (21 PA)
Ian Happ: 375/421/813 with 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SF, 2/6 BB/K (19 PA)
Kyle Schwarber: 000/143/000 with 2/5 BB/K (14 PA)
Robel Garcia: 111/200/111/000 with 1/6 BB/K (10 PA)
Part of the value of bench players (especially in the N. L.) is the ability to pinch-hit (that is, hit "cold" of the bench), and the Cubs clearly had four guys who did that in 2019.
Of course other elements like positional versatility, defensive skill, and speed are factors in bench construction, too, but having reliable "bats off the bench" who can produce in the late innings can be the difference between winning or losing a close game.
Imagine how things might have been different in 2019 if the "All-American automatic out" that was Daniel Descalso is replaced on the bench by Tommy LaStella.
With the new 26-man roster rule scheduled to go into effect in 2020 (with the 26th man required to be a position-player), N. L. clubs will be better able to carry guys who can hit off the bench even if they don't provide any other value to the club (which is essentially LaStella's profile).
tim815 16 hours 27 min ago (view)
The decision on the amount comes later.
bradsbeard 19 hours 22 min ago (view)
At the point when the team makes the initial contract tender, do they have to offer a specific salary, and if so is that the same number the team takes into arbitration? Or does the specific number the teams files at for arbitration happen at a later date?
Arizona Phil 22 hours 10 min ago (view)
jdrnym: A player who is signed to a contract that does not include a minor league split salary is paid his full MLB salary while optioned or after being outrighted to a minor league club.
So if a player goes to arbitration and is awarded (let's say) a $2.5M salary by the arb panel, the contract will not include a minor league split salary or performance bonuses, and if the player is sent to the minors he is paid the full $2.5M while in the minors.
Hagsag 23 hours 22 min ago (view)
Maybe Trump can give them a loan.
crunch 23 hours 23 min ago (view)
it's not exactly looking good when the cubs brass is complaining about "losing 100m in revenue" when a huge chunk of that seems to include Hotel Zachary. it looks like the entire "entertainment complex" is the cubs as far as the Ricketts are concerned...and the team might have to suffer a bit because they couldn't fully realize profits last year. they've publically stated that the big incoming tax credits from the city they're going to realize for stadium work won't help the cubs payroll.
jdrnym 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
If a player doesn't have a split salary in his contract, how much is he making when in the minors (or how is that salary determined)?
crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
we want kyle schwarber to not be mark trumbo so badly...
either way, the NL having or not having the DH needs to be figured out pretty quickly for a lot of off-season sanity.
crunch 2 days 18 hours ago (view)
minor league hitting coordinator chris valaika moves up assistant hitting instructor for the big league team.
looks like a.iapoce's job is safe.
Cubster 2 days 21 hours ago (view)
Jed Hoyer gets a new 5 yr contract that runs through 2025 season.
Cubster 2 days 22 hours ago (view)
BA's list of 19 prospects who impressed at Instructs. One Cub:
Chase Strumpf, 2B, Cubs
Jackstraw 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
Waiting for Ryan Pace to be available. He should be a week from tomorrow.
crunch 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
i haven't even heard a rumor...which is interesting since "virtual" winter meetings start in a couple weeks.
surprised dan kantrovitz hasn't been named "interim GM" or something...which makes me wonder how wide of a net they're casting to fill the position. he was snagged from the A's and was an assistant GM there (and director of scouting for STL).
Cubster 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
As Jed is promoted to President of Baseball Ops, then when will be expect a formal announcement of who the "official" GM is?
crunch 3 days 19 hours ago (view)
there are currently 0 signed...so it's an untapped market ripe for picking the best of the best.
well, bill 'spaceman' lee is probably out there pitching for a low-level Cuban team being paid in weed or something similar.
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 2 hours ago (view)
1970s pitchers are a market inefficiency
Arizona Phil 4 days 12 hours ago (view)
The "Big Three" Cubs first-time Rule 5 Draft-eligibles post-2021 will be RHSP Riley Thompson, 1B-LF Alfonso Rivas, and LHSP Jack Patterson (at least as far as things stand right now), so they will need to be scrutinized as much as possible during the course of the 2021 season (including at MLB Spring Training); That's why those three (in particular) need to get an NRI.