Chicago Cubs: Last Roster Spot: Matt Szczur or Tommy La Stella?
|Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 12:17 PM- -|
CHICAGO -- The last roster spot for the Chicago Cubs in 2017 is still up for grabs as we are only four days away from Opening Night. Players are competing for the last roster spot on the 25 player active roster. I think the final spot goes down between Matt Szczur and Tommy La Stella. Joe Maddon has said positive things about them recently in an article by CSN Chicago.
“When you get this kind of a talent, depth-wise, it's a wonderful problem to have," Maddon said. "And then, of course, the rules start creeping in. The rules in this situation would benefit Matt, which is a good thing because he's a big-league guy that's been riding the shuttle. He's done it in a very stoic manner, and he's been great for us." Szczur could play all the positions in the outfield, and the Cubs are very deep with flexible players, so keeping Matt would be not a poor decision.
According to multiple reports, the Cubs are trying to trade Szczur, because he would most likely go on the waivers if he is not on the 25 man roster. He batted .259 with five homers, 24 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .312 in 2016. He was a versatile player last season as he played 15 games in center field, 15 games in right field, 50 games in left field, nine games as a pinch-runner, and was a pinch-hitter in 49 games.
For his career, he has hit .245 with eight homers, 37 RBIs, and an on-base percentage of .297. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round (#160th overall) in the 2010 MLB draft.
La Stella looks to have gotten the last spot if the Cubs are trying to trade Szczur. He has played for the Cubs the last two years totaling 107 games and had a batting average of .269 with the team. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 8th round of the 2011 MLB draft (266th overall).
I believe that the Cubs will keep trying to trade Szczur since he is as quoted by Maddon, “A Major League Baseball player.” It would make sense for the Cubs to get compensation for him rather than to let him go for free on waivers. So my prediction is that Tommy La Stella will be on the Cubs' 25 man roster on Opening Night. Also, one player that should have been in the discussion for the last spot is Ian Happ as he was cut recently. This all being said, Maddon is blessed with his 'depth problems' and will have to manage his talented roster all season long.
UPDATE: Both players will make the Opening Day roster as Brian Duensing will start at the season on the disabled list with back issues.