The Cubs will be tendering Russell a contract and released dual statements from Russell and Epstein. More to come on that, but you can read the text of those statements in the tweet below.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 30, 2018
All the signs have been pointing toward the Cubs retaining Addison Russell, and the latest report is that they will indeed tender him a contract for 2019. This comes via 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine, who tweeted Friday afternoon that a contract offer is “likely.”
Cubs likely to tender Addison Russell a contract . He still has 29 days of a suspension to serve at beginning of the season . He is not paid until after May 3.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) November 30, 2018
Russell’s future has been the subject of a great deal of speculation since he received a 40-game suspension under the league’s joint domestic violence policy with the players union. Initial belief that he’d simply be non-tendered began to shift as the Cubs made it sound like he could return. Theo Epstein’s recent talk about wanting to be part of the solution, especially since this happened under his watch, cemented that idea.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean the shortstop will ever suit up for the Cubs again. Even if they’re serious about being part of the solution and helping Russell to mend his ways, they don’t need to keep him in their employ to make that happen. But they have less control over those interests, not to mention their baseball-specific goals, by letting Russell go right now.
The Cubs are rumored to have engaged in trade talks with other teams, notably the Mariners, but the market never really materialized to their liking. Rather than non-tender Russell and allow him to become a free agent, they can extend him an offer and maintain more direction over where he ends up. And that might still be Chicago.
Tendering a non-guaranteed contract gives the Cubs time to oversee Russell’s treatment process — the full extent of which isn’t known at this point — while also establishing his financial cost. Maybe that means a better opportunity to determine whether he’s genuinely contrite and intent on changing his ways. Maybe it means additional clarity when engaging trade partners.
All we know for certain at this point is that this situation is anything but resolved and there’s a lot yet to come for Russell and the Cubs.