Domestic violence rears it's ugly head again.
The ruling came down today. Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell has been suspended for forty games.
It was less than three weeks ago that Russell's ex-wife Melisa published a blog that detailed the mental and physical abuse she took from her then husband. A lot of it came in front of their infant son.
MLB moved quickly...this time. It was actually a year ago when they opened the investigation but a third party accusation couldn't be corroborated because Melisa Reidy-Russell would not cooperate with the investigation.
This time was different. Addison Russell was put on administrative leave in late September. He missed the last two weeks of the season. Russell is not appealing today's ruling. The games he missed will count towards fulfilling the suspension. He'll be eligible to play again in early May. The question is where?
Will a team...any team...take a chance on Addison Russell?
We've seen in the past that talent trumps being a good person.
When Aroldis Chapman was suspended for domestic violence, the New York Yankees traded for him. A few months later, the Cubs needed a shut down closer for the stretch drive and traded for Chapman. It was a tough sell to both of the team's fan bases, but it's all about winning.
Chapman is far from the only player with issues. The Astros have Roberto Osuna; a relief pitcher who was suspended seventy-five games for DV. He was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays while he was still serving his suspension. The Brewers star reliever, Josh Hader, had Twitter issues from his teenage years. Hader had to apologize for his racist and homophobic tweets from his teenage years. The Cubs again picked up a controversial player, Daniel Murphy, who made his own homophobic comments a few years ago and still stands by his beliefs.
So why wouldn't Addison Russell be given another chance? Because as I said earlier, talent trumps being a good person and talent-wise, Addy isn't as good as those players I just mentioned. He's regressed as a baseball player the last two seasons plus he's had injury problems. Before this controversy/suspension, he was a good candidate to be traded as the Cubs look to upgrade their offense this off-season. Now there's a good chance he won't even be offered a contract by the Cubs.
You put all this together and it's a bad situation for a fringe player.
The good news for Addison Russell is he doesn't make a lot of money in baseball terms. He's still in the early part of his career so he hasn't commanded a big contract. There's a good chance that some team will think that they can be the ones who can redeem him and make him a better person and a better player.
I just wonder who that team will be. I wonder what that team's fan base reaction will be? What would you think if Addison Russell joined your team?
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