It was no surprise that Tommy La Stella was the guy to break up Chicago White Sox starter Lucas Giolito’s perfect game on Tuesday during Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series.
During the regular season, the A’s infielder had just a 5.3 percent strikeout rate in 2020. La Stella holds a solid .274 average across his seven-year career, which was part of the reason why Oakland acquired him via trade from the Los Angeles Angels at the deadline. After just over a month with the club, it appears the A's want to hold on to him.
A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane told The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser he had known about La Stella since 2014 when he was with the Atlanta Braves, but “you don’t realize how good this guy is until you see him on an everyday basis.”
As Slusser points out, front-office executives usually have a somewhat diplomatic discussion with the media when it comes to future free agents. But not when it comes to La Stella.
“I would normally say, ‘We’ll deal with it at the end of the season.’ But based on what I just said about him — well, you’d be crazy not to put him at the top of your list,” Beane told Slusser. “I normally kind of hedge on everything because you never know, but goodness, he’s been so impressive it would behoove us to put him at the top of the list, at least have a discussion with him.”
A’s pitcher Chris Bassitt started against the Angels three times this season and was relieved in his final outing to know that he didn’t have to pitch to La Stella. It’s an even better feeling now that Bassitt has La Stella on his own team.
La Stella and Jake Lamb, who was signed to the A’s on Sept. 14 after being DFA’d by the Arizona Diamondbacks, have done a great job filling the infield void for Matt Chapman, who underwent season-ending surgery with a strained right hip earlier this month.
Perhaps A’s fans should get used to La Stella in green and gold.