Teams are calling the Braves about Yunel Escobar

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Because teams in tight pennant races trade their starting shortstops so often.  ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick in the form of a FrankenTweet:

Heard today that the Braves are getting calls from
some teams looking to “bottom feed” on underachieving SS Yunel
Escobar . . .
Braves are hesitant to move Escobar because he’s
only 27, is super-talented and they think he might be in for a big
second half . . .
Atlanta also doesn’t have an alternative at SS.
(Omar Infante is not an everyday guy). It’s hard trading a SS in
mid-pennant race.

Omar Infante is not an every day guy?!  Used to be people respected All-Stars. The nerve.

Anyway, Crasnick is right about all of that. The Braves tear their hair out at Escobar, but with a fragile Chipper Jones needing Infante to caddy for him and no Rafael Belliard-style uber glove man waiting in the wings to plug in at shortstop, there’s no way they’d lose Escobar. They may cut bait on him in the offseason — again, they really don’t like the guy all that much — but they need him right now.

In other news, now would probably be a good time to torture all of my fellow Braves fans by reminding them once again that if John Schuerholz had simply held his water, not traded for Mark Teixeira and allowed the 2007 Braves to finish the season in third place like they would have anyway, Elvis Andrus would be playing shortstop right now, Neftali Feliz would probably be filling Kenshin Kawakami’s place in the rotation and Jarrod Saltalamaccia and Matt Harrison could have been traded for an outfielder or something.

But of course I’m not one to dwell on the past.

Tommy La Stella talks about his refusal to report to the minors in 2016

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In late July of 2016, Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella was demoted to Triple-A. It wasn’t personal. It was a roster crunch situation and La Stella had options left so, despite the fact that he had been an effective player to that point of the season, it made sense to send him down.

La Stella didn’t take the demotion well. In fact he refused to report to Iowa and went home to New Jersey instead. It was not until August 17 that he finally reported and then only after prolonged discussions with the Cubs and the assurance that he’d be back in the majors once rosters opened up. Which he was, after spending just over a week down on the farm.

Such a move by a player would, normally speaking, make him persona non-grata. His teammates would shun him and the organization would, eventually, cut bait, with the press characterizing him as a me-first player as he walked out the door. That did not happen with La Stella, however, who remains with the Cubs two years later and, by all accounts, is a popular and important guy in the Cubs’ clubhouse, even if he’s not one of the team’s big stars.

Today Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has an in-depth story about La Stella, what went down in 2016 and how he and the Cubs have proceeded since then. The story is subscription only, but the short version is that there was a lot of understanding and empathy on the part of the Cubs organization and their players about what was going on in La Stella’s head at the time and how everyone allowed everyone else the space to work through it.

I’m happy to read this story, because all too often we only hear about such incidents as they occur, with little followup. To the extent the story is told, most of the time its completely one-sided, with the player who acts out being treated like a bad seed with little if any explanation of his side of things. And, yes, there are always two sides to the story. Sometimes even more.

Kudos to Rosenthal for telling this story. Here’s hoping the next time a player is involved in a controversy that, in the moment, makes him appear to be a bad seed or have a bad attitude, we hear more about it then too.