Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell has been suspended by Major League Baseball for 40 games, retroactive to September 21, under the league and Players Association’s joint domestic violence policy. The suspension is unpaid, and it was accepted by Russell.
Russell was placed on – and then extended in – administrative leave by MLB after allegations of domestic abuse were levied by his ex-wife about two weeks ago. Russell has denied the allegations, but MLB investigated, found additional credible information in the process, and today the punishment came down. The initial statement from the Commissioner’s Office does not reveal any details about what MLB discovered, other than to say that the league reviewed the available evidence and concluded that discipline was appropriate.
Russell will serve the suspension to begin next season, though it’s obviously not a sure thing that it will be with the Cubs.
Russell, 24, is eligible for arbitration three more times, and, on that basis, the Cubs could keep him under team control for three more seasons if they wanted. But it’s hard to see that happening given the general tenor of things, and I think it would be right for the Cubs to move on right now, one way or another. Personally, and speaking only as a fan, I think the Cubs should move on.
If the Cubs indeed decide to move on, they will have the opportunity to see if there are teams out there that want Russell for a modest return (for teams that can get past this domestic violence issue, there is plenty of “value” there, but I get squeamish even starting down that road). Otherwise, the Cubs will have to make a decision about whether to tender him a contract in early December.
My best guess is that the Cubs will try very hard to trade Russell – for whatever – before having to make the tender decision.