Cubs acquire Tommy La Stella from the Braves

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From Mark D. Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune comes word that the Cubs have acquired infielder Tommy La Stella and international signing slot No. 4 from the Braves for reliever Arodys Vizcaino and three international signing bonus slots. Got all that?

La Stella made his major league debut this past summer at age 25 and went on a bit of a hot streak out of the gate, but the second baseman wound up batting just .251/.328/.317 across 360 total plate appearances. The former eighth-round pick (2011) does have some pretty good minor league numbers, but he’s not really considered a great prospect.

Vizcaino, 24, owns a 4.84 ERA in 22 1/3 career major league innings.

The Braves appear to be embarking on somewhat of a rebuild under new president of baseball operations John Hart and they’ll now have more money to work with for international acquisitions.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.