12 days ago, Chicago Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella was demoted to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Chris Coghlan, who was being activated from the disabled list.
But as of Tuesday, La Stella hadn't reported to Iowa and questions started to mount as to his whereabouts.
Meanwhile, the Cubs - from President Theo Epstein to manager Joe Maddon to sports psychologist Ken Ravizza to teammate Matt Szczur - have remained in contact with La Stella, who is pondering his future at his New Jersey home.
What's certain is that La Stella's not getting a return ticket to Chicago until he gets some AAA at-bats. 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. La Stella explained that he, as a person, is not tied to the game of baseball.
Instead of reporting to Des Moines to play with the Triple-A Cubs, La Stella chose to go home to New Jersey to keep in shape.
"Hopefully we'll have a resolution sooner rather than later, but we're just trying to give him time", Hoyer said of La Stella, 27. "I know when I went through my Kurt Vonnegut stage I was kind of screwed up when I was 21". "He's also a very good baseball player". On the other hand, Justin Grimm (who, admittedly, isn't having quite the year TLS is) was also optioned, and Grimm has quite a bit more major-league service time than TLS.
"I'm not going to fault anyone for what they say or assume about the situation", La Stella said. "I told them I know you have a business decision to make. They felt that was one of those moves".
I can understand TLS' thinking here, I believe, up to a point.
La Stella considered retirement last season, according to ESPN. If that were the case, La Stella would have retired last off-season.
The Cubs want La Stella, who was batting.295 in 105 at-bats, to return to the organization and get some at-bats at Iowa. In a professional sports, players are nothing more than pawns controlled by upper management.
As much as teammates seem to appreciate La Stella's contributions off the bench (.846 OPS in 122 plate appearances), his decision has puzzled many among a group that has gone out of its way to present a team-first image. That is something that La Stella knew coming into the 2016 season.
La Stella will continue to get paid while he's on the inactive list. The insane thing is that La Stella likely would have been back with the Major League team by now had he taken his assignment when the Cubs originally optioned. Regardless, GM Jed Hoyer told CBS Chicago that there's no timetable on La Stella's decision.
"He's processing a lot of different things right now and he's working through some issues". While there's still plenty of time for things to go wrong, the recent signing of Aroldis Chapman only gives Cubs fans another reason to be optimistic about ending the curse this season.
Want your voice heard?