Exiled Russell Rehabs Strained Image

Opening Day, 2018. Ian Happ swatted the first pitch of the MLB season into the seats in Miami. Addison Russell was all over the box score of that game. 2/3 at the plate, stole a base, turned a couple of DPs, got picked off, hit by a pitch and made an error.

Opening Day, 2019. Ian Happ was back in Des Moines and Triple A. Addison Russell was in two states at once; Arizona and Limbo, staying loose at Extended Spring Training while his suspension for conduct unbecoming of an MLB spouse/domestic partner ran its course. Now that its days are numbered, Russell has joined Happ (not to mention Carl Edwards Jr.) on the roster of the Iowa Cubs. Who knows when Happ and Edwards will be back in Chicago, but Russell can reasonably expect to be there when the Cardinals come calling on May 3.

Russell’s been here before, for 11 games in 2015 and a single one in 2017, but under very different circumstances. The first time he was an ascending wunder-prospect. The last time he was coming off an injury. This time, he’s coming out of the penalty box, working on some behavioral rehab.

You gotta think right about now he’d rather face someone like Max Scherzer than another “I’m a changed man,” presser, but I think he’s scheduled for one later today.

Wednesday night he was greeted with what I would describe as polite, big-leaguer-in-town applause when his name was announced in the starting lineup. He didn’t inflate the crowd as rehabbers sometimes do, but he did oblige some autograph-seekers. In the dugout with his temporary teammates, he appeared to be one of the guys. When the kid who was chosen for the nightly “pick-to-click” promo chose Russell (if the “pick-to-click” gets a hit, everybody in the picker’s row wins some sort of token), Happ and the rest of the boys were giving it to him good-naturedly.

So, so far; so good. Good luck, I guess, to young Mr. Russell who, whatever else he may be guilty of, will never be accused of sterility. His third child with a third woman was born last fall. Hopefully, his counseling on the ways and means of adulthood includes the basics of birth control.

Footnotes: The other two Chicago Musketeers, Happ and Edwards, had good nights. Two hits, a stolen base and zero Ks for #8 @ position #8; a scoreless frame with a pair of whiffs for the former Slim Reaper as the I-Cubs improved to 12-7 and stayed two games in front of the Memphis Redbirds.

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Thanks for the update Mike.

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  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    j.girardi did a 2nd interview with PHI on Monday and he's supposedly the favorite for the job.

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    The draft over the ASB and the trade deadline pushed back until August 15th or so would make sense. Otherwise, I don't know how scouting departments are going to handle the draft lead up and the trade deadline running almost simultaneously.  

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    One other thing about MLB player development that is very different from NFL, NBA, and NHL player development is that most MLB clubs have upwards of 300 minor league players under contract (not including players on their MLB 40-man roster, the Cubs presently have 301 minor leaguers under contract on nine minor league affiliates).

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    JUST SAYIN: MLB is the only one of the four major North American professional sports that holds its draft and signs its draft picks during the season.

     

  • crunch 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    umpire eric cooper has died...complications from knee surgery (blood clot)...52 years old

     

  • crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)

    "MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports former player David Ross and Astros bench coach Joe Espada "appear to be the frontrunners" for the Cubs' managerial opening."

    espada's had 2 interviews.  for a guy who's actively at his "other job," having a 2nd interview seems like both sides want to make this work.  SF and PIT are also supposedly interested in espada.

     

  • JustSayin' 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

     That's a fair description of the benefits of the plan but If I have to choose between "better way" and "owners' greed," I pick the latter.  MLB wants better MiLB facilities, on average, without paying a cent.  They want to deal with the social and legal pressure they are getting for not even paying minor league players minimum wage per real hour worked by having less players.  In addition, the draft is to be moved to late August, so every draftee would lose compensation for the stub year in which they are drafted.  For this reason, I'm not sure your point about col

     

  • Hagsag 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Thanks Mr. Phil.

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 8 hours ago (view)

    HAGSAG: Besides reducing the costs that are associated with operating a minor league club, reducing the number of minor league affiliates would allow MLB organizations to increase the salaries of their remainng minor league players (who would be the organization's most-legit prospects) without having to increase the organization's aggregate minor league payroll. 

     

  • crunch 2 days 8 hours ago (view)

    The discussions on this matter have been quite varried.  There seems to be a lot of pressure connected to this on minor league team owners who haven't upgraded their facilities/park in a while or who lag in quality compared to their competitors.

    It seems like this would not only cause some teams to fold, but some radical redistribution of existing teams/cities into new minor league levels rather than just pruning some teams over others.

     

  • Hagsag 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil, what are your thoughts on the discussion to eliminate 42 low minor league teams in 2021? What would this do to the Dominican League? Thanks.

     

  • crunch 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    yanks/astros game 6 was a f'n classic.  wow.

    altuve continues to build his astros legend.

     

  • bradsbeard 3 days 17 hours ago (view)

    Thanks for this. I agree they’ll probably take their chances in the Rule 5 if he will resign, though I really wouldn’t mind adding him back to the 40 man. I feel like he has a good chance to be effective out of the bullpen. 

     

  • bradsbeard 3 days 17 hours ago (view)

    I hope Sagara doesn’t end up leaving because of the shakeup. The Athletic did report that his position might be eliminated but that he should be offered another role in the organization somewhere. All I know is Sagara’s name came up frequently in connection with the pitch lab, and he was credited for improvements with Ryan, Wick, and Wieck. Maybe he’ll end up focusing more specifically in that role helping guys tweak things in the lab. 

     

  • JustSayin' 4 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Does anyone have insight into the new management hires and musical chairs the Cubs announced yesterday?  Craig Breslow might be the only guy out there with extensive MLB experience AND the grey matter to challenge any quant not making sense. His role intrigues me but are they going to give him real responsibility to clear out the deadwood (including the existing minor league coordinator who was never good enough to be the pitchers he's coaching?)  Or, is this a superficial change aimed at keeping ownership off Theo's back? 

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: I think the Cubs want to retain Oscar de la Cruz post-2019, just not on the MLB 40-man roster.