Chicago Cubs to sign lefty James Russell to minor league deal


James Russell returns to Cubs, signs minor league deal

So I’ll see your

Jason Hammel

, and raise you a James Russell. The Chicago Cubs are making out on some of their trades from last season, as they get another piece back that they traded away. After Hammel returned this offseason after being traded to the A’s, it appears that Russell is returning to the Cubs’ organization as well.

Russell was effective for both the Cubs and the Braves last season, posting a career-low 2.97 ERA in 57 2/3 innings. Unfortunately a rough spring led to the Braves releasing him, at only a cost of $600,000 in salary.

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With Phil Coke as the only lefty currently in the bullpen, Russell will likely get his chance to return to the Cubs. for the time being, he’s been signed to a minor-league deal and will report to Triple-A Iowa. Tsuyoshi Wada, currently on the DL is the other left-hander that figures to be part of the equation.

The pickup of Russell was in reality a no-brainer. Outside of a rough spring, he’s been a successful reliever in his career. With a career 3.74 ERA, Russell wasn’t just a lefty specialist. He allowed a .241 average to LHB, and a .268 to RHB. His ability to get out hitters from both sides gave the manager the option to leave him out there for more than one batter.

With several players due to come off the DL in the coming weeks, Kris Bryant to possibly join soon and now the acquisition of Russell–things should get interesting with this Cubs roster.

Next: Cubs release Ryan Sweeney