NL Notes: La Stella, Phillies, Sosa, Hand, Steele, Gray

Tommy La Stella won’t play again this season as he continues to recover from neck spasms that sent him to the 10-day injured list since September 12.  Multiple injuries have limited La Stella to 136 games over his first two seasons with the Giants, and though the team owes La Stella $11.5MM in 2023 (the final year of his three-year contract), The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser opines that La Stella might be a candidate to be designated for assignment.  One would imagine the Giants would explore trades before going the DFA route, yet in either case, the club would very likely end up eating just about all of La Stella’s remaining salary, unless they can swap him for another undesirable contract.

The changing rules limiting defensive shifts will be a factor in San Francisco’s decision-making, as La Stella will now have to show more range in order to play second or third base, and La Stella’s mobility has been rather limited since undergoing Achilles surgery.  Since a more athletic roster is a stated offseason goal of president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, Slusser wonders if La Stella could be the odd man out if he is unable to play anywhere beyond first base or DH.

More from the National League…

  • The Phillies’ magic number to clinch a wild card slot is one, and with the postseason looming, interim manager Rob Thomson told reporters (including’s Todd Zolecki) that the injured Edmundo Sosa and Brad Hand could be options to return for the playoffs.  A right hamstring strain has kept Sosa on the 10-day IL since September 16, while Hand was retroactively placed on the 15-day IL on September 22 due to tendinitis in his throwing elbow.  The versatile Sosa hit a scorching .315/.345/.593 in 59 plate appearances after being acquired by the Cardinals on July 30, while Hand has struggled over his last few outings but still has a 2.80 ERA over 45 innings for the season.
  • Justin Steele has been shut down for the remainder of the season, Cubs manager David Ross told The Chicago Tribune’s Meghan Montemurro and other reporters.  Steele hasn’t pitched since August 26 due to a lower back strain, and while Steele has been throwing bullpens, that work has been more about getting Steele fully healthy rather than prepping him for a final appearance in 2022.  In his first full MLB season, Steele has a 3.18 ERA over 119 innings, with an above-average strikeout rate even though walks (9.8 BB%) were an issue.  The left-hander has nonetheless put himself in good stead for a rotation spot in 2023.
  • The Nationals also won’t start Josiah Gray again this year, as manager Davey Martinez told reporters (including The Washington Post’s Andrew Golden) that Gray already talked his way into some extra work beyond his initial limit of 130 innings.  Gray finishes with 148 2/3 innings in his first big league campaign, though it was far from smooth sailing for the right-hander.  Gray has allowed a Major League-leading 38 home runs and an NL-leading 66 walks, en route to a 5.02 ERA over 28 starts.

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