Today, Addison Russell’s 40-game suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy came to a conclusion, and he was reinstated by the Chicago Cubs.
But, as he continues to work his way back both in a baseball sense and in a personal sense, he has officially been optioned to AAA Iowa – where he was already playing on a reconditioning stint – to keep playing there for now.
The way team President Theo Epstein described the plan for Russell, generally, is that he’ll effectively be getting something like a Spring Training at Iowa, which would have him down for at least another couple weeks, and perhaps longer. At present, the Cubs don’t have a critical need in the infield for Russell, so that undoubtedly factors into the calculus, too. Maybe circumstances change and the Cubs make a move sooner. For now, though, you can expect to see Russell getting time at shortstop and second base at Iowa, with an eye toward a utility role when he returns.
Obviously, whenever it is that Russell returns to the Cubs, he will bring with him a firestorm of renewed criticism about how the Cubs have decided to proceed, not only retaining Russell, but trying to work with him – and the organization as a whole – to improve how domestic violence is treated, prevented, and formally addressed. They have invited a great deal of scrutiny in this way, hoping that they can make a real difference, not only for Russell, but also for families across baseball. It’s a lofty goal, and one that I’m not sure we’ve yet seen enough to say is trending in one direction or another.
As for Russell, it’s conceivable that the Cubs will entertain offers in trade for a guy they may not “need,” and on whom another organization may be willing to take an upside chance now that his suspension is actually complete.
At Iowa, infielder Cristhian Adames hits the Injured List to make room for Russell:
To make room for Addison Russell, INF Cristhian Adames was placed on the injured list for the Iowa #Cubs.
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) May 2, 2019
That’s right – Russell wasn’t taking up a roster spot until now, so it was kind of a weird freebie for the Cubs. Ditto his 40-man roster spot, which the Cubs opened up today by moving Brandon Morrow to the 60-day Injured List.