Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella has agreed to report for his optional assignment, as manager Joe Maddon announced in an appearance on 670 The Score (as Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune was among those to report). Manager Joe Maddon says that he’ll play tonight for the team’s Double-A affiliate.
La Stella, 27, had previously been weighing whether or not to accept his demotion off of the big league roster. As explained in detail at that link, the delay was not tied to any dispute or attempt to protest Chicago’s decision to option him. Rather, La Stella explained that he has previously considered retirement and was not certain whether he wanted to continue to play elsewhere in the organization (or, indeed, any other organization).
The Cubs have shown plenty of patience over the last several days while expressing hope that La Stella would ultimately take the assignment. Losing the versatile performer and solid hitter would have left the team one left-handed bat shy of its preferred array of available players, though it had not yet acted in any attempt to replace him.
La Stella has been quite a useful performer for Chicago since coming over in a trade from the Braves. This year, he owns a .295/.388/.457 batting line over 122 plate appearances. But with a loaded Cubs roster returning to health, there wasn’t space for him, leading to the move. Presumably, the team would’ve intended to bring La Stella back up when rosters expand in September, though the current path back isn’t clear.