3:20pm: The League announced that Russell has been suspended without pay for 40 games. That suspension is retroactive to Sept. 21, the date he was placed on administrative leave. That ban will carry over into 2019, rendering him ineligible to play for the season’s first month or so. Russell will not appeal the suspension, per the announcement.
3:06pm: Cubs shortstop Addison Russell will be suspended under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, reports Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago (via Twitter). The precise length of his ban is not yet certain, though Rogers suggests it’ll be between 25 and 40 games.
Russell, 24, was placed on administrative leave in September after allegations of physical and verbal abuse were brought forth by his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy. Commissioner Rob Manfred had already conducted an investigation into Russell last year after a friend of his ex-wife made allegations at the time, via social media. Reidy didn’t cooperate with the investigation at the time — a decision which she explained to Rogers in an interview that is well worth a full read for those who’ve yet to gather the full details of this situation.
The 25- to 40-game length of the ban will make Russell’s suspension one of the lighter punishments handed out by Manfred under the current policy. Earlier this season, Roberto Osuna received a 75-game suspension, and other high-profile cases have included Hector Olivera (82 games), Jose Reyes (51 games) and Aroldis Chapman (30 games). Suspensions for Olivera, Reyes and Osuna all came after criminal charges were pressed, however (resulting in jail time for Olivera; charges against Reyes were eventually dropped, while Osuna agreed to a one-year peace bond as the charge was withdrawn).
Criminal charges have not yet been brought forth against Russell, and there’s no clear indication that they ever will. Regardless, the suspension severely clouds Russell’s future with the organization. The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney recently reported (subscription required) that there has been a “sense around the team” that Russell has played his final game as a Cub.
Should the Cubs elect to retain Russell, he’ll be under club control through the 2021 season (this suspension’s length won’t impact his free-agent timeline). He’d be due a raise on this season’s $3.2MM salary after posting a dismal .250/.317/.340 batting line through 465 games. If not, he can be non-tendered and sent out into free agency, with Javier Baez likely sliding over to assume regular shortstop duties.