Carlos Beltran likely to have elbow surgery as soon as the Yankees’ season is over

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For most of the season it’s been assumed that Carlos Beltran would undergo offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow and Wednesday the Yankees outfielder/designated hitter made that all but official.

Beltran has battled elbow problems for months and told Brendan Kuty of the Newark Star Ledger that he’ll likely go under the knife shortly after the Yankees’ season is over. The recovery timetable is around two months, so Beltran will have plenty of time to get ready for spring training and try to bounce back in 2015 following a rough first season with the Yankees.

He’s hit just .241 with 15 homers and a .725 OPS after topping an .825 OPS in each of the previous three seasons and has been limited mostly to DH duties. Based on his performance, age, and injury situation the 37-year-old Beltran would probably struggle to get more than an incentive-laden one-year contract on the open market as a free agent this winter, but instead he’s still got two years and $30 million remaining on his deal with the Yankees.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on ThursdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

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.