Chicago Cubs: It’s time to rectify a major misstep
I don’t particularly care what you think about Addison Russell. Unlike a great many people, I believe in second chances only when they’re warranted – and this is not one of those situations.
We’ve seen Russell go from a former consensus top 10 prospect in the game and the starting shortstop for a World Series-winning Cubs team to a guy who makes more headlines for his egregious off-the-field issues than he does with his play on the diamond.
I’ve never minced words when it comes to my feelings on the 25-year-old. I felt the team shouldn’t have tendered him a contract last winter. When they did, it was nothing more than a waste of precious resources that could have been better spent elsewhere – all while continuing to employ a guy who, simply put, just doesn’t seem to get it.
But let’s just focus on what he’s brought (or hasn’t brought) to the Cubs strictly as a baseball player. Last season, Russell appeared in just 82 games – the lowest total in his five years in the bigs. Offensively, he did what he always does: he batted right around the .240 mark (.237 to be exact) while barely keeping his on-base percentage above the .300 mark (.312).
All told, according to Baseball Reference, he was a 0.1 WAR player for Chicago. Per Fangraphs, he was nearly 20 percent below league average as a talent (81 wRC+). He struck out more than he has since his rookie campaign in 2015 and graded out as a solidly below average defensive player, as well – which, to this point, had been the one redeeming quality he possessed.
This team can ill-afford to give away roster spots – especially after the second base position turned in the sixth-worst production in all of baseball in 2019. It’s time – move on from Russell and find a legitimate answer heading into 2020, rather than expecting a has-been prospect to be anything more.