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.