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.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?