Former Chicago Cubs middle infielder Addison Russell is still looking for a team to play on in 2020. While the onetime starting shortstop for the 2016 World Series champions had a rough 2019 at the plate, it’s not his batting struggles that are likely holding him back. Russell is being followed by domestic abuse allegations from his ex-wife, which were serious and believable enough to merit a suspension from Major League Baseball for the end of the 2018 campaign and the beginning of 2019.
For its part, Baseball Prospectus wants to make sure no one forgets why Russell is a free agent. As pointed out by The Ringer‘s Shaker Samman, the publication has gone out of its way not to waste words, using a different scouting report than the one they use for most other MLB players. Instead, as he posted on Twitter, the blurb for the troubled infielder is nothing more than the phone number for the 24-hour national domestic violence hotline.
It turns out this isn’t the first instance where the magazine has singled out Russell for what he’s alleged to have done to ex-wife Melisa Reidy. While the 2019 Baseball Prospectus blurb was more verbose, one Twitter user pointed out to Samman that the magazine once again paid more attention to what the former Chicago Cubs star did off the field than on it.
The scouting report started off much in the way one might expect when recapping a player’s past season. However, it took a turn quickly to talk about what Russell is alleged to have done to Reidy and how victims of domestic abuse should be believed and treated properly.
Last year was great too pic.twitter.com/J7AoAlUzds
— LIFTERS (@LIFTERSuk) February 26, 2020
This isn’t the first time the publication has gone out of its way to draw attention to the alleged misdeeds of Major League players. However, the 2020 entry for Russell is the first time in recent memory that a player’s blurb didn’t really have anything to do with baseball at all.
Once one of the top prospects in baseball, it doesn’t appear there have been many contract offers coming Russell’s way. He was acquired by the Chicago Cubs from the Oakland Athletics during the 2014 season. During his rookie campaign in 2015, he hit just.242 and 13 home runs. In his second full year in the bigs in 2016, his batting average dropped to.238 but he bashed 21 home runs.
While Cubs fans were hoping Russell was signaling he was about to break out, he never hit higher than.250 in a season and never hit more than 12 homers for Chicago. And although former teammate Kris Bryant famously claimed the team didn’t do much over the winter, they did cut the shortstop loose.