Several years ago, the Chicago Cubs acquired highly-touted Oakland Athletics prospect Addison Russell with hopes he’d be a perennial All-Star. What now?
After taking over the shortstop role for the Chicago Cubs in 2015, sliding former cornerstone Starlin Castro to second base, the future seemed bright for Addison Russell.In his All-Star season of 2016, Addison Russell showed Chicago Cubs‘ fans the high praise he was given while he was in the minors was very well-deserved.
Even though he only managed a .238 batting average, he set career-highs in home runs and runs batted in, with 21 and 95, respectively. He did all this with the bat while playing an above-average shortstop.
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Those are only his regular season numbers. He continued to produce and played a pivotal role in the Cubs’ World Series championship run. ‘Addi’ complied four home runs and drove in 15 runs in the postseason, with nine of them coming in the World Series against the Indians.
Backsliding hard after the championship
After his All-Star and World Series championship campaign in 2016, Russell struggled mightily in in 2017 and those struggles have carried over into 2018, as well.
Thus far in 118 games, Russell has a .257 average, only five long-balls and just 37 RBI. His strikeout rate has gone up as well; he is striking out once every 4.3 plate appearances.
His glove has struggled quite a bit too. This season, he has committed 14 errors, and a lot of them have appeared to come at critical moments in games. In comparison, he committed 12 blunders in total between the regular and postseason in 2016.
What do the Cubs do?
It pains me to say it, but it feels like the best thing for the Cubs to do would be to trade Addison Russell and do so reasonably soon.
I feel like it has to be done soon because Russell’s stock is falling fast. If the Cubs made Russell a part of a package this past winter or at the recent trade deadline, they more than likely would’ve gotten a better package in return.
Even though his stock is on the downhill, he is overflowing with potential – and everybody knows it. So, his price may be lower, but not as low as some may think.
What would the Cubs look like?
If the Cubs trade Russell, who would take his spot?
Javier Baez would most likely become the everyday shortstop with Ben Zobrist splitting time with the Cubs’ 2018 rookie sensation David Bote. Or, Chicago could look for more time for Ian Happ at second base – his natural position. In short, there are plenty of internal options.
At the end of the day, Addison Russell is an incredibly talented player who has skills that could make him the game’s best shortstop, but it might not happen in Chicago.
He seems dejected at the plate and seeing him struggle is painful to watch. Even though fans might not want to see him leave a change of scenery might do him a lot of good.