Chicago Cubs: Will the team stick with Russell?
Even if the Cubs didn’t add a big bat to their lineup many thought the team would get rid of Russell and then need to add another middle infielder. While that may still happen, this week the Cubs tendered Russell a contract through arbitration. Both the Epstein and Russell issued statements about his domestic violence suspension.
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Russell still has 29 games left to serve on his suspension. But the Cubs are in better position than perhaps any team in baseball to go without a starting middle infielder for a month. Javier Baez can slide over and still play Gold Glove-caliber defense at shortstop.
The Chicago Cubs can then cover second base with a combination of Ben Zobrist, Happ and David Bote. Chicago still boasts Jason Heyward, Schwarber, Almora and whoever doesn’t start in the infield to make up their outfield.
The majority of those starts at second base figure to go to Zobrist. Don’t forget about how great Zobrist played last year! He should have won the National League Comeback Player of the Year. So being forced to start Zobrist at second base isn’t a bad thing. He was the Cubs’ full-time starting second baseman in 2016. So he should be able to handle the majority of the playing time at the position for a month.