Theo Epstein made it clear during his end of the year press conference, the Cubs were going to explore all options during their search for pitching. And that search including trading from their depth, which reportedly involved Addison Russell.
According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, a rival executive told Wittenmyer that the Cubs made Russell available in a few trades this off-season. And while the Cubs never pulled the trigger and addressed their needs via free agency, it’s clear Epstein was serious when he made those comments back in October.
It’s important to clarify that saying he was made available in trades doesn’t necessarily mean the team was ‘shopping’ Russell, but it’s not hard to see why the Cubs would consider moving the promising 24-year-old shortstop.
After an encouraging 2016 season in which Russell displayed surprising numbers, 21 home runs with 95 RBI, the former A’s prospect took a step back in 2017. Missing some time with shoulder and foot injuries, Russell only managed 110 games last season. The smooth-fielding shortstop also dealt with domestic violence allegations, which still has a murky outlook at the moment.
Russell was aware of the rumors this off-season, but instead of focusing on what if’s, Russell is happy to be healthy and still in a Cubs uniform.
Addison Russell heard trade rumors this winter but says he’s glad to still be in a #Cubs uniform: “The core is still here. Who would want to break that up? It’s a beautiful thing, Javy and I in the middle. … We have a lineup that can stack up with the best of ‘em.”
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) February 17, 2018
Hopefully, a bounce-back season is in store for the Cubs 24-year-old shortstop and he can replicate his 2016 numbers in 2018. But for now, he’s just happy he’s still the Cubs starting shortstop.