With Chase Utley likely staying in Philly, Cubs’ Maddon says: `We have stuff inside’

SHARE With Chase Utley likely staying in Philly, Cubs’ Maddon says: `We have stuff inside’
SHARE With Chase Utley likely staying in Philly, Cubs’ Maddon says: `We have stuff inside’

It looks like it’ll be up to Tommy La Stella to be for the Cubs what Chase Utley won’t be over the final weeks of the season.

Phillies executives told Philadelphia media Tuesday that they expect the heavily shopped Utley to remain with the Phillies for the rest of the season – apparently dashing the hopes of clubs such as the Cubs, Angels and Giants that hoped to acquire the six-time All-Star second baseman.

“Regarding Chase Utley, I know that’s been talked about a lot,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m just anticipating playing with the guys that are here. And I really like what we’re doing. So don’t just look from the outside. We’ve got stuff inside.”

Maddon was quick to mention AAA infielders La Stella and Javy Baez – who have played a combined two big-league games this season. Both of those belonged to second baseman La Stella, who returned this month from a season-long oblique injury.

“I think we have some really nice pieces that aren’t even here yet,” Maddon said.

And the pieces that are here had just reeled off a 15-1 run that ended in a blaze of Chris Sale strikeouts Sunday.

Maddon said he not only likes his team as it’s constructed but that he has no message to any of the players as the season heads into its final six weeks with more at stake that most of them have experienced.

“I’m really a big believer in not overthinking anything,” Maddon said. “And so the less they think about it, the more they just go play, I much prefer that.

“Being consciously competent. That’s the zone. If you can get more guys in that particular moment, they’re going to perform at their highest level.”

Coming off their hottest stretch of the season, the Cubs face the twin tasks of holding their four-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the battle for the second wild-card spot in the National League and trying to close a two-game deficit at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first wild-card spot.

“The thing that we’ve been doing up to this point plays the rest of this month, and it plays all of September, and it plays October,” Maddon said. “What we’re doing right now. So I prefer not changing anything.”

Whether Utley truly is off the market, the Cubs’ front office isn’t done trying to get a deal done during the August waiver period before playoff rosters lock in.

General manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday he still thinks its possible to add from the outside.

“We’ve had discussions about various players, and we’re trying to figure out every permutation about how September’s going to work,” he said. “How do you blunt left-handed relief matchups? How do you blunt right-handed relief matchups? Do you have a pinch runner that can go in there and not burn up a player that might be useful off the bench in another way? Extra catching …

“Do we have all those things covered? And if we don’t have them internally, should we go outside?”

Or just let La Stella handle it.

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