Chicago Cubs: Can the organization learn from the Russell ordeal?
One of the most glaring matters for this team to attempt to address and, in some degree get past, is the off-field issues involving shortstop Addison Russell. He’ll miss the first month of the season as he finishes serving the remainder of his 40-game suspension issued by the league late last year.
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All offseason, questions regarding Russell were thrown at the front office, Maddon and even his teammates – but for this team to move forward, there needs to be some type of resolution that comes out of all this.
More than a few fans (myself included) believed the organization should simply choose not to tender Russell a contract this winter. But, then they did so, and here we are now, still talking about him and the disturbing allegations (which are seemingly accurate given his suspension) that surround him.
"“Personally, I think we’re doing the right thing,” Epstein said. “I understand people who are upset and think we should’ve just moved on. But I can at least pledge to those people that we’re taking this on earnestly, that it’s important to us, that they’re not just words; they’re actions. And I will continue to be transparent with you and with our fans about everything that we’re doing to try to attack this problem of domestic violence and we will continue to hold Addison to an incredibly high standard or he won’t play a regular-season game as a Chicago Cub ever again.”"
That last line? I like that. You toe the line or you get out. Period. There’s no wiggle room on this. But, even after these allegations first surfaced in 2017, Russell played for the team last year before everything came crashing down late last summer. Epstein outlined some concrete steps the club has put in place in light of everything that happened, which is a good first step. I’ll let you be the judge as to whether or not it’s enough.
So, after an offseason filled with disappointment, inherent payroll limitations and a near-continuous buzz over Addison Russell and his domestic violence matters, the Chicago Cubs will attempt to put it all behind them and, for the first time in several years, go play the role of underdog this season.