Cubs GM says bringing back Addison Russell was 'the right thing to do'

Addison Russell will be back with the Cubs in 2019. (AP Photo)
Addison Russell will be back with the Cubs in 2019. (AP Photo)

Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer believes bringing back infielder Addison Russell was the right thing to do. The 24-year-old Russell received a 40-game suspension from Major League Baseball last season under the league’s domestic violence policy. Russell will miss the first 28 games of the 2019 season due to the suspension.

Hoyer said the Cubs consulted with experts, and those experts recommended the team bring back Russell, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

“We knew that it would be unpopular in some ways,” general manager Jed Hoyer told ESPN 1000. “People have a visceral reaction to reading about what happened. So did we. The more that we worked and talked to experts and worked through it … we felt like having a conditional second chance was the right thing to do. It was recommended by experts.”

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts agreed with that sentiment.

“The fact that we have decided — after talking to lots of experts, after talking to Addison multiple times, talking to the league — that we’d rather support him through the process than just cut him and let him go, that doesn’t mean it’s in conflict with support for victims of domestic violence,” owner Tom Ricketts said on ESPN 1000. “I think that it’s not an easy decision and not a decision that anyone takes lightly.”

Russell was put on leave by MLB in September after his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy, published a blog post detailing instances of physical and mental abuse. Russell denied those allegations, saying they were “completely false.” The league suspended Russell in October after determining Russell had violated the domestic violence policy.

In November, the Cubs decided to tender a contract to Russell for 2019. A month later, Reidy detailed even more details of Russell’s abuse to Kelly Wallace of The Expanded Roster. In January, Russell and the Cubs agreed on a $3.4 million deal that would allow Russell to earn back the money he lost during the suspension.

Russell hit .250/.317/.340 over 465 plate appearances in 2018. He’s under team control through the 2021 season.

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