Cubs Will Not Tender Contract to Russell
Addison Russell‘s time with the Chicago Cubs appears to be coming to an end. The team decided not to tender a contract to the infielder before the arbitration deadline at 7 PM on Monday. According to Spotrac.com Russell made $3,4000,000 in 2019 and was enering another year of arbitration.
The Cubs have cut ties with Addison Russell and will not offer him a contract for next season.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) December 2, 2019
In his time with the Cubs, Russell had plenty of ups-and-downs. He played five seasons for the club and was a major factor during their championship run in 2016. A steady decline in production and controversy off the field made this decision relatively easy for Chicago.
Russell began his time with the Cubs after being traded by the Oakland Athletics in 2014. He was a promising prospect that never quite reached his full potential. His best individual year was in 2016, when he had a slash line of .238/.321/.417. That same season, Russell was an All-Star, and he finished in the top twenty of the MVP voting.
The infielder had nine RBI on six hits, during the World Series in 2016 — which is by far the best playoff performance of his career. The Cubs loved his production during that one-year span, unfortunately for Russell, he couldn’t consistently play up to those standards.
In 2019, Addison Russell only played 82 games for Chicago. He had a career low .237 batting average, with only 23 RBI and 51 hits. He was never a mainstay in the line-up, and he only got an increase in at-bats when shortstop Javier Baez went down with an injury. Through the back half of the season, Russell split time with impressive prospect Nico Hoerner.
After the emergence of Hoerner, Russell was frequently coming off the bench and struggling to get anything going at the plate. Some considered him to look “lost and ill-prepared” throughout the season. It was clear he may need a change in scenery after he was simply outplayed by Hoerner, who was thrown into the fire during an intense playoff hunt. The decline in production was not the worst part of Russell’s time in Chicago.
Addison Russell was involved in a long domestic violence investigation, dating back to 2017. His now ex-wife brought serious allegations against him, resulting in the Cubs placing him on administrative leave. Ultimately, MLB suspended him for 40 regular season games.
These events created an uproar within the fan base, with most people turning against the Cubs second baseman for his actions. He certainly wasn’t a fan favorite, nor was his play on the field benefiting the team.
Unacceptable behavior off the field and mediocre production on it, is not a recipe for success. With that being said, it was clearly not worth it for the team to keep him around the ‘Friendly Confines’ through 2020.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images