Chicago Cubs: Addison Russell will not be brought back to KBO

Former Chicago Cubs infielder Addison Russell headed to the Korean Baseball Organization in hopes of resurrecting his career. So much for those plans.

Once upon a time, Addison Russell was a top prospect in baseball. He was a key piece in the Chicago Cubs return for Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija as the A’s were looking to go on a deep postseason run in 2014. Considered a brilliant defensive shortstop with intriguing tools at the plate, Russell appeared to be a future star.

He had begun to show that potential almost from the beginning. Russell was an All Star in 2016 and earned MVP votes that year. He was one of the better defensive shortstops in the game, and while his hitting slipped in 2017, his glove still made him valuable.

That all changed in 2018 and 2019. He struggled in every facet, and was suspended due to violating the league’s domestic violence policy at the end of the 2018 season. The Cubs made the controversial decision to bring Russell back the following year, but he continued to struggle. He was non-tendered following the 2019 season, and after failing to find a major league team with any interest, went to the Korean Baseball Organization in an attempt to resurrect his career.

Russell was signed by the Kiwoom Heroes, who were looking to replace the disappointing Taylor Motter. While he did provide more production than Motter, Russell was still a disappointment. He produced a .254/.317/.336 batting line in his 271 plate appearances, hitting 14 doubles and two homers. It was not the type of year that Russell had hoped for when he headed to Korea.

It was also not the type of production that the Heroes had hoped for either. They announced that they would not be bringing him back in 2021, making him a free agent once again. At 26 years old, Russell’s once promising career is close to falling completely apart.

While he is not likely to return to a major league roster, it would not be a surprise to see Russell signed once more. He may well end up on a different team in the KBO, or head to Tawain and the Chinese Professional Baseball League. While he may eventually earn another look at the major league level, that seems less likely as time goes on.

Former Chicago Cubs infielder Addison Russell is being let go by the Kiwoom Heroes. His career is at a crossroads.