While the Chicago Cubs tendered contracts to six arbitration-eligible players for the 2020 season, there was one notable name they decided to non-tender: Addison Russell.
According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Russell, 25, will now hit free agency following five years with the Cubs, the last two proving to be rough for the infielder.
The Cubs tendered Russell for 2019 after he was suspended for 40 games near the end of the 2018 season for violating the league’s domestic abuse policies, forcing him to miss the first 28 games of the 2019 season.
Russell, a National League All-Star in 2016, was later demoted to the minors, after he struggled on the field.
“We decided to non-tender Addison Russell today simply because the role we expected him to play for the 2020 Cubs was inconsistent with how he would have been treated in the salary arbitration process,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said in a statement. “In the year since we decided to tender Addison a contract last November, he has lived up to his promise to put in the important self-improvement work necessary off the field and has shown growth, as a person, as a partner, as a parent and as a citizen. We hope and believe that Addison’s work will continue, and we have offered our continued support of him and his family, including [ex-wife] Melisa [Reidy].
“In the last year, the organization has also put in the important work necessary to bolster our domestic violence prevention training for all employees, all major league players, all minor league players and all staff. We also offered healthy relationship workshops for the players’ partners and provided intensive, expert domestic violence prevention training for player-facing staff. This heightened training and our increased community involvement on the urgent issue of domestic violence prevention will continue indefinitely. We wish Addison and his family well.”
Russel was a key factor in the Cubs winning the World Series after a 108 year drought back in 2016, with a Grand Slam in Game 6 which catapulted the Cubs back from a 3-2 deficit in the series.
Cubs Hiring David Ross
The Chicago Cubs have found their new manager and are hiring David Ross to take the reigns of the team, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.
Ross, 42, beat out five other candidates to replace Joe Maddon, who parted ways with the organization and is now the manager of the Los Angeles Angels, and was a player when the Cubs won the World Series a few years ago.
Ross hit a memorable home run in Game 7 back in 2016, helping to propel the Cubs to a World Series championship.
“I’ve always looked at Rossy as a coach when he played here,” Cubs superstar Kris Bryant said. “Yeah, it was goofy, it was fun, it was energetic, but when he needed to tell you something, he let you hear it. From the very get-go, I felt like this guy will be a manager some day for sure.”
Cubs first base coach Will Venable, bench coach Mark Loretta, former Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, former New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada were all in the running for the job, and have been informed of the team’s decision to hire Ross.
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Ex-Cub David Ross Interested in Cubs’ Manager Job
Former Chicago Cubs catcher, and current ESPN analyst, David Ross is interested in taking over for Joe Maddon as the team’s manager.
Ross, 42, who is considered a leading candidate to succeed Maddon as the team’s manager, was asked during Sunday’s Baseball Tonight show if he would have interest in the job if the team reached out to him.
“I think it’s one of the best jobs in baseball,” Ross said. “I’ve got a lot of close ties with those guys. I think the interest would be there. I think my heart is drawn to that dugout a little bit.
“The rumors are flattering. It makes you think about a lot of things. I’ve got a nice job here at ESPN that I enjoy and gives me a lot of free time with my three kids.”
Ross played his final two seasons with the Cubs, which included a World Series championship in 2016.
Ross was asked if the close relationships with many of the players would impact his job as manager.
“You never know until you sit in the manager’s seat how hard it really is to have those tough conversations with guys” Ross responded.
“I’m kind of an open person; when I was teammates with a lot of these guys I shot them straight.
“I loved my teammates when I played with them; every team that I played for. But I also try to tell guys the truth in love, and so I think the best managers I have had do that exact same thing — they have great conversations, they communicate, they walk that line between authority and leadership and being a friend as well. I think that’s the line you’ve got to kind of walk with players and you never know until you are in that seat.
“I’ve got a lot of thinking to do if this gets presented to me as everyone says will happen. I’m sure waiting for that phone call.”
Ross would certainly be welcomed by players if he were to be hired, and Cubs’ superstar Kris Bryant talked about Ross’ potential as the next manager of the team.
“I’ve always looked at Rossy as a coach when he played here,” Bryant said, according to ESPN. “Yeah, it was goofy, it was fun, it was energetic. But when he needed to tell you something, he let you hear it. From the very get-go, I felt like this guy will be a manager some day for sure.”
Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo also chimed in and shared his thoughts about the possibility of Ross being the manager.
“If it was Rossy, I’d obviously sit down; I’ve talked to him about it before,” Rizzo said. “He’s in a really good place now at home with his family and what he’s doing and he’s happy. The pros and the cons. I mean, he’s the biggest mentor in this game other than [Maddon]. Can it work? Yes. But I don’t know which direction we are going in.”
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Scott Boras Blasts MLB Following Cubs’ Kris Bryant Injury
If the Chicago Cubs are hoping to land a National League Wild Card playoff berth, they may have to do so without superstar Kris Bryant, who sprained his right ankle after landing awkwardly on a wet first-base bag while trying to beat out a double play during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Bryant received an MRI on Monday, and it revealed a Grade 2 sprain and casting a cloud of uncertainty over his availability for the final week of the regular season, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.
Now, Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, is taking aim at MLB who he blames for not properly addressing the issue of wet bases, and not doing enough to ensure player safety.
Boras also brought up an injury his other client, Philadelphia Phillies’ superstar Bryce Harper, suffered back in August 2017 while playing for the Washington Nationals.
Harper suffered a significant bone bruise and hyper-extended knee when he slipped on a wet base.
At the time, Boras called for MLB to take more steps to protect players, specifically pointing to the dangers of wet bases.
“What have they done since Harper? The answer is nothing,” Boras said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “They’re focused on other factors, economic factors, all things relating to how they can administer the game, and yet the safety of players and resolution of this issue has gone without any attention.
“The integrity of our game is going to [be] damaged when the safety of players is not at the forefront, and Major League Baseball has dropped the ball on the wet bag subject.”
“To date, no one has come up with a bag that has proven to be better safety-wise than the bag we use now,” an MLB spokesperson said.
“The issue for me is they’ve done nothing,” Boras continued. “They have completely skirted this issue. They had an MVP player having an MVP season dramatically get hurt and miss time. It affects playoff races and the entire safety of players and the integrity of the game. When they are very diligent to get umpires and teams to play during rain, during precipitation, trying to get the games played.
“There’s been no discussion, no resolution, absolutely nothing done in this area, except the player is to bear the burden of slippery and wet bags.”
For now, Bryant will be sidelined for an undetermined amount of time as the Cubs move forward with their hopes to lock up a playoff spot.
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