Addison Russell was ‘shocked’ by last summer’s trade


Now widely regarded as the best prospect in the Chicago Cubs’ farm system, shortstop Addison Russell has begun to settle in at camp with his new team. However, in a recent interview with’s Jane Lee, the budding star said he was ‘shocked’ by the trade that brought him to the Windy City.

As that shock wore off, though, and Russell began talking with those close to him, he quickly figured out the trade may not be such a bad thing in the end.

"“When I got to thinking about it and started talking to a few people, though, they were telling me it was a good thing. The Cubs wanted me, and they got me. I look at it as a new opportunity.”"

His ‘new opportunity’ consists of a seemingly endless number of obstacles in his pursuit of a roster spot with the big league club. Up the middle, the likes of Javier Baez and Starlin Castro seem to be the plan for the time being, with slugging third baseman Kris Bryant a lock to control the hot corner at some point in 2015.

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With that in mind, Russell, according to Lee, is working at multiple positions this spring in Arizona, taking reps not only at shortstop, where he was groomed to play during his time with the Athletics, but also at second and third. His added defensive versatility will only compliment an already solid approach at the plate.

Last season, which was spent between High-A and Triple-A clubs with Oakland and the Cubs’ Double-A club in Tennessee, Russell batted .295/.350/.508 in just 68 contests. Specifically, he put up an .868 OPS with the Smokies – which is where he’s likely to start 2015 (although he could head straight to Iowa, as well).

Now, when we talk about where he’s going to play once he reaches Chicago – that’s when things get kind of unclear. Now, the most obvious answer would be the Cubs deal from their plethora of middle infielders in order to shore up the pitching ranks over the next year or two.

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However, if that doesn’t happen, there are some in-house shuffling options that could be on the table. One, Bryant shifts to a corner outfield spot – with either Baez or Russell taking over at third, with the other manning second alongside Castro. That seems to be likeliest outcome if the team doesn’t make a trade, which, to me at least, seems improbable if not unlikely.

Even to this day, though, despite the high expectations and the plethora of talent that surrounds him, Russell is still adjusting to the surprise he was dealt last summer when he and fellow prospect Billy McKinney came to Chicago for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel – the latter of which has since re-joined the Cubs.

"“I was kind of flying through the farm system and playing well at each level and looked forward to playing with the A’s for several more years,” Russell said. “The trade just really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting it. It definitely would’ve been cool to play at the big league level with the team that drafted me.”"

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