The Cubs have announced they have acquired infielder Tommy La Stella from the Braves for right-hander Arodys Vizcaino. The two teams also traded 2014-15 international bonus slots: the Cubs receiving the Braves’ number four slot ($142K) in exchange for Chicago’s second ($458K), third ($309.3K), and fourth ($206.7K) slots (figures courtesy of Baseball America’s Ben Badler). The Braves will net $832K in the swap of bonus slots.
La Stella made his MLB debut for the Braves in 2014 and slashed .251/.328/.317 in 319 plate appearances while leading all National League rookies with his .328 OBP and 36 walks. La Stella, who will turn 26 in January, joins a crowded Cubs second base picture with Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, and Logan Watkins seeing time there last year. Third baseman Luis Valbuena also saw over 150 innings at second base, as well. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal opines La Stella is not an ideal positional fit, although the Cubs like his bat and ability to make contact and have tried to obtain him for a while. In a series of tweets, Rosenthal feels this trade could be a precursor to other moves and, while not necessarily because of La Stella’s addition, Starlin Castro may be the odd man out (I, II, III).
With La Stella being moved, Ramiro Pena and Philip Gosselin are the only second basemen on the Braves’ 40-man roster. Top prospect Jose Peraza could still be a year away after having split 2014 between Class A-Advanced and Double-A. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets the Braves may give Peraza a look during Spring Training, but he expects they will sign a bridge second baseman on a one-year deal.
Vizcaino, who the Cubs acquired two years ago from the Braves in the Paul Maholm trade, only made five appearances during his Chicago career, all this past September (three earned runs over five innings), as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. The 24-year-old spent the bulk of 2014 across three levels of the Cubs’ organization posting a combined 3.51 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 4.0 BB/9 in 41 innings of work during 40 relief outings.