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).
Hagsag 13 hours 14 min ago (view)
$$$$ for trump's defense fund.
Dolorous Jon Lester 13 hours 17 min ago (view)
But they got $600 a few months back. Each! That was an unexpected windfall.
Can't wait to see us acquire a 17 year old, 16 year old, 11 year old (all in the 15-30 range of Blue Jays prospects) and one of the shitty Jays surplus OFs. Randal Grichuk jerseys will be the new hot item among Cubs fans.
crunch 14 hours 9 min ago (view)
things are a little tight, we have to be patient with the ricketts family finances.
when TD Ameritrade was fully/completely sold in october they expected to get 26 billion dollars of value on the transaction, but it only got 22 billion dollars. the massive slew of millions that didn't fully come to realization on the ricketts side of that sale stings.
Dolorous Jon Lester 14 hours 26 min ago (view)
Trade Hendricks? Cant be true. We're "going to be competitive this year."
Sell the team, Ricketts family.
crunch 14 hours 42 min ago (view)
"Scott Mitchell of TSN reports that the Blue Jays have discussed a potential trade with the Cubs involving Kris Bryant and Kyle Hendricks.
Mitchell was responding to a question on Twitter asking whether there was any truth to the rumor that the Jays had talked with the Cubs about a deal for both players, and he answered in the affirmative."
this timeline sucks.
bradsbeard 1 day 18 hours ago (view)
International Scouting Director Louie Eljaua was just on The Score and he mentioned that COVID is causing issues with completing physicals and officially signing guys, but he said they have 24 guys unufficially signed right now.
KingKongvsGodzilla 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
These guys are a year apart in age and Miller's easily had the stronger career to date. While I'm not big on Miller, much prefer his more standard injury (TJ) than whatever it is that sapped Foltynewicz's velocity. Folty without velocity just isn't interesting and is likely a much bigger injury risk
Cubster 1 day 20 hours ago (view)
from an mlb.com article by Jordan Bastian...excerpt on Cubs free agent starting pitching options:
"Still, the Cubs need some more experienced Major League innings.
Given the way the offseason has played out for the North Siders, free-agent possibilities could include Chris Archer. Archer missed all of 2020 due to thoracic outlet syndrome, but he hopes to be ready to go by Spring Training. Free agents Mike Foltynewicz, Carlos Rodón, Rick Porcello and Trevor Williams are coming off forgettable '20 seasons but might benefit from the Cubs' analytics team.
Charlie 2 days 13 hours ago (view)
At this rate, they will need 11 starters in 2021 but like 6 of them will be more or less Alec Mills. The defense will get plenty of practice, at least.
crunch 2 days 17 hours ago (view)
i wouldn't be surprised to see jake arrieta come on board since no one else seems to want him and he'll probably have to take a 1yr deal...
crunch 2 days 17 hours ago (view)
cubs get their backup catcher...hopefully not their main catcher...
austin romine 1yr/1.5m
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 17 hours ago (view)
Look no further than Shelby Miller!
crunch 2 days 19 hours ago (view)
hank aaron has died. passed away in his sleep.
we've lost a lot of HOF'rs and other notables in the past many months.
Hagsag 2 days 23 hours ago (view)
The Cubs are now the "Little Sisters of the Poor".
crunch 3 days 7 hours ago (view)
given what little we're supposed to expect out of this offseason that would have been a nice gamble.
at this point i wonder if they're going to snag someone to put in between the 2 current staff aces that throw 88mph on a good day, or if they're just gonna toss one of the kids in there to break up the slow-tossers.
i mean, there's gotta be something more than hendricks/davies/mills/alzolay/???...i hope.
springs 3 days 7 hours ago (view)
That sucks...I wanted to sign Q to a one year deal and see if he could right the ship. At a minimum I hoped we'd get a draft pick when he left as a free agent and thought we could roll the dice to try and get that. That trade....man.