Chicago Cubs should consider dangling Addison Russell this offseason
Ian Happ exists and is quite good
What if I told you the Cubs have another 23-year-old infielder who is already better than Russell at the plate and not too bad with his glove, either? Crazy, right? It’s true! As far as hitting goes, Ian Happ, after just one season, has surpassed Russell as a hitter.
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Happ slashed .253/.328/.514 with 24 home runs. Those are really impressive power numbers, especially when you consider he only played in 115 games. We could wait for Russell to become the hitter scouts purported him to be, or we could go with the bat of Happ, who appears to have a much higher floor and a similar ceiling.
So, what about the defense? It is true, Russell is an elite defender. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better defensive shortstop. And the duo of Javier Baez at second base and Russell at shortstop is truly a spectacle to behold.
But consider this: if Russell were traded, Baez would likely move to shortstop, his natural position. When Russell missed extended time with an injury, Baez flourished at shortstop. He seemed more comfortable than he had all season long.
Without Russell, a little bit of what you’d lose overall in the 2B/SS dynamic would be made up if Baez moved to shortstop. That would then open the door for Happ to regularly play second base, which is his natural position.