Of course, Russell spent much of last season (and all of his career before it) with Chicago. Dealt along with Emilio Bonifacio to Atlanta last summer in exchange for catcher Victor Caratini and cash, Russell put up good numbers down the stretch. He ended the year with a career-low 2.97 ERA over 57 2/3 innings between both clubs.
In spite of his solid results last year, a rough spring led to his departure from the Braves, who will be on the hook for about $600K of salary but were able to avoid paying Russell the full $2.4MM he had agreed upon to avoid arbitration. Because Chicago was able to land him with a minor league deal, Russell will represent a free roll for the team if and when he makes it onto the major league roster.
Interestingly, Russell now joins Jason Hammel, Bonifacio, and Jeff Samardzija as players who were dealt away last summer by the Cubs and are back with Chicago organizations — the latter two with the White Sox.