Bounced: Cubs trade Tommy La Stella to Angels
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One day after acquiring Ronald Torreyes from the Yankees for infield depth, the Cubs on Thursday traded popular and enigmatic pinch hitter Tommy La Stella to the Angels for a player to be named or cash.
The move came just ahead of the deadline Friday for tendering contracts to players.
The arbitration-eligible La Stella, 29, was projected to make $1.2 million in 2019, according to mlbtraderumors.com. Torreyes, 26, is projected to make $900,000.
The Cubs have seven other arbitration-eligible players, including troubled shortstop Addison Russell, whose status with the team remains in flux after a yearlong domestic-violence investigation by MLB resulted in a 40-game suspension.
La Stella, who made headlines during the Cubs’ 2016 World Series championship season when he refused a minor-league assignment, rehabilitated his reputation and relationships in the clubhouse over the past two seasons.
By last spring, he made different headlines by instigating a battle of pranks with general manager Jed Hoyer, including having a bounce house erected over Hoyer’s and president Theo Epstein’s parking spots in Mesa, Arizona.
‘‘I’d like to thank the Chicago Cubs for an amazing experience over the last 4 years — a special group of people who taught me about so much more than just the game of baseball and who supported me when they easily could have chosen not to,’’ La Stella, who set a franchise record with 24 pinch hits in 2018, said in a statement.
‘‘Thank you to the fans and everyone in the organization, especially to the boys; being around you guys was some of the best times I’ve had playing the game. And lastly, thank you to my new team, the Angels. I’m excited for this new opportunity and can’t wait to get it started.’’