3 SF Giants players who are on the roster bubble for 2023
2. Middle infielder Tommy La Stella
It is not hyperbole to state that Tommy La Stella has been the worst signing since Farhan Zaidi took over the front office after the 2018 season. Prior to the 2021 season, San Francisco signed him to a three-year, $18.75 million pact, but that is a deal that has failed to deliver.
This has been due to his struggles at the plate as well as injuries. La Stella sustained a hamstring strain at the beginning of last season that forced him to miss considerable time. He underwent offseason Achilles surgery and the recovery from that has been slow.
In the second year of his contract, he has slashed .253/.286/.380 (86 wRC+) with just two home runs, 13 RBI, and 16 runs in 168 plate appearances. This includes a 4.2 percent walk rate against a 16.7 percent strikeout rate. The plate discipline that he demonstrated earlier in his career when he posted walk rates above 10 percent seems to have disappeared.
The left-handed bat was brought in to give the Giants leverage against right-handed pitching, but he has posted a 90 wRC+ against righties in two seasons with San Francisco. Similar to Mike Yastrzemski, if La Stella cannot perform against right-handed pitching, it is going to be tough for him to have a meaningful role.
The difference between the two is that Yastrzemski can make an impact on defense. La Stella has been limited to just 76 innings in the field in 2022.
One way or the other, the Giants will likely look at ways to bring in another left-handed-hitting middle infielder, so it is tough to envision that La Stella will finish out his contract in San Francisco. However, a strong finish to the season could give the front office a little extra confidence.