Addison Russell, former All-Star infielder, signs a 1-year deal with KBO team

Tribune Content Agency

CHICAGO — Former Chicago Cubs All-Star shortstop Addison Russell, who was suspended for 40 games at the end of the 2018 season, signed a one-year, $530,000 contract with the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization.

Yoo Jee-ho of the Yonhap News Agency first reported the signing of Russell, 26, who served the suspension at the end of the 2018 season and the start of 2019 for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.

Russell wasn’t tended a contract by the Cubs after the 2019 season, in which he batted .237 in 82 games. He started the 2019 season at Triple A Iowa after completing his suspension. He was promoted on May 8, but was optioned back to Iowa on July 24 after a series of lapses in the field and on the base paths. Russell rejoined the Cubs in August.

In 2017, Russell’s former wife, Melissa Reidy, publicly revealed details of abuse during their marriage. Investigators for Major League Baseball started an investigation following those allegations by a third party on a social media post and never closed their case until after Reidy spoke to them one year later.

On Sept. 21, 2018, MLB placed Russell on “paid administrative leave” and Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said: “Obviously we take it very, very seriously. It’s something we’re very concerned about.” Two weeks later, on Oct. 3, MLB suspended Russell for 40 games. Russell did not appeal the decision.

Heroes general manager Kim Chi-hyun told Yonhap News Agency that they did their background work on Russell and spoke with Russell’s agent Scott Boras.

Russell, who hit 21 home runs and drove in 95 runs during his All-Star season in 2016, will play shortstop and second base, Yonhap reported. He will take the roster spot of Taylor Motter, who was released on May 30 after hitting .114 in 10 games.

Russell has spent the offseason and spring working out, according to posts on Instagram account.

Russell was a first-round pick of the Oakland Athletics in the 2012 draft before he was the centerpiece of a multi-player trade on July 4, 2014, that involved pitchers Jeff Samardzjia and Jason Hammel.


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