Joe Maddon Says Tommy La Stella ‘About Ready to Report’ to AA, Baggage Already on the Way (Updated: TLS in TN)

In his weekly appearance with Spiegel and Goff on 670 The Score, Joe Maddon said that Tommy La Stella is about ready to report to AA. No, the AWOL infielder doesn’t have a drinking problem, though it does appear that he’s performed a searching and fearless moral inventory of himself and has made a decision to turn his life and will back over to the baseball gods.

And if this post from reddit user herewegeaux — who claims his/her dad is a baggage handler at O’Hare — is to be believed, La Stella’s gear is indeed already headed south. The post is just a screenshot of a text conversation with “Dad” from 10:30 am Wednesday that features a picture of a pair of Cubs duffel bags followed by this message (sic’d):

Great race. Proud of the lad. Theses are Tommy LaStellas bags..Going to Knoxville. I guess he saw the light and is reporting to the minors….

I wonder if the other bag in that pic belongs to Jesse Rogers.

While it had initially been stated that La Stella would need some at-bats with the Iowa Cubs, the timing appears to have conspired to send him to Tennessee. The I-Cubs are out on a West Coast road trip for the next three days, while the Smokies are home through Sunday. Besides, Kodak is a lot closer to New Jersey than Des Moines, geographically speaking.

If TLS really is en route, and it certainly seems that’s the case, he’s going to have a lot more baggage with him when he heads back to Chicago. Whether or not he’s made a list of all the persons he has harmed, he’ll need to make direct amends to such people wherever possible. His teammates have stated publicly that they’ll welcome him back, though I doubt it’ll be on an unconditional basis.

[beautifulquote align=”right”]Staying in the minors through August might be the best strategy for both the Cubs and La Stella.[/beautifulquote]

There’s also the matter of his return necessitating the departure of a current member of the roster. Unless, of course, Maddon’s definition of “a few AB’s” is two weeks’ worth of games. Staying in the minors through August would serve multiple purposes and might be the best strategy for both the Cubs and La Stella. Not only does it eliminate the roster crunch, it also serves as a sort of penance for being on the lam for so long.

La Stella can get in a few games with Tennessee, then head to Iowa for the week of the 22nd to finish out the last six games of an eight-game homestand. When the I-Cubs head to Nashville on the 29th, TLS can return to Chicago and spend a couple days mending fences before he can be officially reactivated. Things may well play out differently, that just seems like the simplest and best solution to me at this point.

In other Cubs news, Maddon said that John Lackey has not had an MRI on his balky shoulder and that they haven’t decided on whether or not he’ll make his next start. Discretion being the better part of valor, I would not be at all surprised to see Trevor Cahill make another start while Lackey gets bumped back for more rest. Lackey being Lackey, I can see him demanding a cortisone shot and not missing a beat. Stay tuned.


Tommy La Stella is indeed headed to Tennessee, if he’s not there already. As Smokies play-by-play broadcaster Mick Gillispie tweeted, La Stella is in the lineup for Wednesday night’s game, batting second and playing second.

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