The Cubs tried to add a left-handed hitter before the Aug. 1 trade deadline, but the Oakland A’s wanted young pitching in return for Josh Reddick and the Cincinnati Reds wouldn’t seriously consider trading Jay Bruce to a division rival.
The Cubs now might attempt to get a different deal done during the waiver period, given all the uncertainty about Tommy La Stella’s future and an Aug. 31 deadline where new players can still be eligible for a postseason roster.
“We have to think through things from the organization’s standpoint, and having really good left-handed bats potentially off the bench is really important for us,” general manager Jed Hoyer said before Tuesday’s 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Wrigley Field.
“As we look at things, we love our depth right now, and I think that may not necessitate a move. But certainly we would have to look for left-handed bats to make sure that we are prepared for a good right-handed reliever late in the season.”
The Cubs acquired Austin Jackson from the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 31 last year, adding a right-handed hitter, experienced playoff performer and defensively gifted outfielder to their bench.
The Cubs could make a similar move now that La Stella — a .295 hitter with a .388 on-base percentage in 122 plate appearances this season — refused to report to Triple-A Iowa, moved onto the temporarily inactive list after getting optioned on July 29 and told ESPN he’s contemplating retirement.
“We want him back, and we want him playing,” Hoyer said. “There’s no question he makes us a better team and a better organization. But we’re trying to think of him right now — and allow him the time to process what he needs to process to get back on the field.”