In a surprise move, longtime Cubs infielder Addison Russell has found a landing spot in Korea’s top league. He’s joining the Kiwoom Heroes on a $530K contract, per Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News (via Twitter).
Once a top prospect and promising young big leaguer, Russell is best known now for off-field malfeasance. Russell was suspended under the league’s domestic violence policy after his ex-wife detailed serious allegations of abuse.
The Cubs still gave Russell another shot, keeping him through arbitration in 2019 and bringing him back to the majors after the suspension was served. But Russell was not able to take advantage of the second chance, as he continued to produce middling offensive numbers.
All told, since the start of the 2017 season, Russell carries only a .243/.310/.379 batting line. While he’s a quality defensive performer, that wasn’t enough output to merit another trip through arbitration this past offseason.
Though the Cubs had already absorbed the public relations hit of retaining Russell, other organizations declined to bring him aboard this past winter. He was waiting for an opportunity even while Spring Training neared completion.
The lack of a big league deal may ultimately have helped Russell secure his next chance. Unlike most players of his ability levels, the 26-year-old was not under contract when the Heroes went looking for another foreign player. Russell will have a chance to get his career back on track in the KBO, which is playing at full tile (albeit still sans fans) while MLB tries to get its own season underway.
The Human Toilet
Who thought Russell would get the last laugh this year
He is forced to move half way around the world to a country that doesn’t speak his native language… all for what he woulda earned in ANY MLB club
How does he win? Lmfao
Yeah there’s no last laugh here. I would be he would kill to have a job on an MLB club and not be a pariah
He gets the unique opportunity to live and work in Korea. That’s pretty awesome. He gets to experience a new culture and play professional baseball. Sounds like a win to me.
digimike Nice way to look at it but still wouldn’t call it a win or a last laugh. Going from being a top prospect in MLB then playing in the majors to a different league on a 530K salary isn’t exactly a positive thing. Sure it could be worse, but that doesn’t make this a win for him.
The Heroes are the team that we Koreans make fun of because they are known to have the worst overall attitude.
I wouldn’t really call it a “win” or “last laugh” either. However, I was just responding to the question of “How is that a win?”
It is definitely a very unique and cool opportunity to take advantage of when you are 26 years old. No one plays baseball forever and there’s more to experience than what’s between the lines.
I agree that it is a fun and great opportunity to get to do something like that. But if he hadn’t attacked his gf then he would likely still be on the cubs and would be making a lot more money as he begins his journey through arbitration. I love travel but many would hate to have to go to another country for work
see again, when people look at it like this, I get it, but I dont think most people look at it that way. a lot of that can be turned on its head. he’s not getting paid too much and has to encounter a whole new way of life. maybe interesting to some but its not just a smooth transition.
Since this was a “last resort” move, I can’t imagine that Russell sees this as a win. He has to leave behind his friends and family and move to a foreign country, just to make 10% of what he’d be getting in MLB. He’s also traded the celebrity status and other perks that come with being a MLB player for the relative anonymity of the Korean League.
What are others getting sitting around watching the squabbling? Russell will get paid during a pandemic playing in one of the few countries that are successfully dealing with the outbreak. If nothing else, this can be paid tryouts for MLB teams who will be watching considering they’re the only ones in the world playing (presumably).
Dude Russel’s is out there making 530k a year to play a game. Plus the millions he’s already made. Think no matter what happens he’s living the dream other than a bad public image. Give it a year and he will be forgotten and have a nice luxurious life. Not saying he deserves it by any means however just that people seem to see 500k as chump change meanwhile that’s life changing money for 99.5% of people out there
Russell being an abusive prick aside, he never came close to living up to his prospect hype. He’s average at best and will probably rake in Korea.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Then he should fit right in
No Soup For Yu!
You’re assuming that a wife beater like Russell gives a crap about something like Korean culture and language
Toxic relationship that exploded. Russell probably made a ton of micro bad decisions that led to a big bad confrontation.
I am rooting for him to take personal responsibility for all of his actions so he can understand what got him in trouble and avoid repeating his mistakes.
Don’t jump to the conclusion that he’s a terrible person unworthy of making amends.
you want to see that happen?
he needs to get away from christianity first.
his faith let him act like that, told him he’d get away with it.
turns out, in reality land, we don’t use bronze age fairy tales, so he had to go to another country (one that has even fewer people like him, luckily), in order to get one last shot.
hope he learns from it, but he’s a born again hypocrite, so he won’t.
Thank you for your teaching us all about Christianity. The only thing you don’t realize is that you need Jesus.
I think that’s a she said he said story
That is a strange, yet very American way to look at it… rather than saying he is moving half way across the world to a country where HE doesn’t speak the native language, your view is they don’t speak his native language.
I don’t think there is anything “American” in his phrasing. Most would phrase it the way you do.
Americans don’t speak their native language either…
He’s playing more baseball, thereby getting paid, than any mlb player this year.
At this point a guaranteed paycheck is a last laugh. Had he signed in MLB he’d still be in limbo.
Yea but the fame he’ll receive in Korea…
He wins by getting out of the shitshow that is America. South Korea knows how to handle a pandemic.
He “wins” because it was unlikely any team was going to give him a 40-man roster spot. Plus, he’s playing.
Hopefully Jessica Mendoza and Sunday night baseball go with him then they talk about his stupid Pokémon cards over there. Sunday night baseball sucks for the past 20 years!
Pokémon is from Japan, totally different country. At least you got the general region right, I’ll give you points for that.
How long until we see this POS on Pawn Stars trying to hock his WS ring?
I hope I see him make an awesome comeback and put his life together. The sprinkles on the cake would be him thanking everyone for holding him accountable so he could grow as a person.
Have y’all ever been abroad? Korea is a great opportunity. Akin to Japan. Certainly an upgrade from MLB minor leagues and a great life experience for young professionals.
Well thats unfortunate
Is this the same team that released Taylor Motter?
No, they’re the team that signed Al Coholich to that short term deal.
That didn’t work out so they got Richard Grabinski as a back fill.
cant really trust the judgement that thought Taylor Motter could hang in a league where they have foreign hitters like Jose Miguel Fernandez.
Good luck to him. Hopefully he can turn his life around after the huge setback.
Pay him in bags of change like he did with child support.
Kiwoom should rename themselves as Kiwoom Villains, they already have two alleged rapists on their roster (m-en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20190208010951315)
Looks like the russell vs semien debate is a moot point. Although based on his age i wouldve taken a milb contract chance on russell although his past history was obviously a major red flag for teams
Who knows maybe this will open doors again in the ML
Exactly, which is why they made the move. MLB teams would have far less of a problem with taking a PR hit for signing 2021 KBO MVP Addison Russell then lifetime .240 hitter Addison Russell.
*why HE made the move
The comment section is open for this article, but every other one was closed for him?
He assaulted his girlfriend. Doesn’t matter whether he was an mlb employee or not. He is a scumbag. I normally don’t post on these articles, but this is the first Russell article open for comments in like 18 months.
I know I’m talking to myself, but how is this article open for comment???? Every breaking article with his name tagged was closed. This is not a redemption story. This is a terrible person plying their trade in a place they hope the fans are ignorant of the facts
What’s the Korean translation for “black eye?”
수치. (But I’m a new learner, so someone correct me if I’m wrong)
The details in the articles of the allegations against Addison Russell are horrific. Google it. Thumbs up to WarkMohlers for re-focusing the comments to what is really important.
I have a feeling he’ll be back in the majors as he’s young enough to reestablish his value in Korea and get another shot in the big leagues.
He simply wasn’t good enough for a team to ignore all the baggage like Chapman or Osuna.
Unlike Osuna he’s at least owned up to his past, sought counseling, and appears to be trying to improve himself.
Osuna acts like a victim any time his woman beating ways are brought up.
Or maybe he “goes the extra mile” because he can’t hit or take a walk to save his life. If your talent can’t make teams look beyond your last transgressions, then do all you can abroad and hope people eventually forget about you
U know nothing about osuna or what he’s done behind the curtain sooo stop making stuff up
I’ve seen his public reaction to being asked about it. I’ve yet to see one contrite statement or admission. During the Series he was upset it was brought up again. Owning the behavior is the first step, he’s yet to do that to my knowledge.
Hopefully the young man turns his life around on and especially off the field.
Jung Ho Kang is a pariah because he did something that MIGHT have or COULD have hurt someone.
Addison Russel did something that would and did hurt someone.
I think DUI should be punished more harshly than it is, but…there is NO comparison.
I’m fine with Kang losing the rest of his career…until people who did much worse things get second and third chances. It makes no sense.
KBO rules work off location im pretty sure. Kang’s biggest issue was that he had a DUI in Korea and he was technically still his club’s property when he had the other two. not making excuses for Russell, but l that’s how it works.
FWJBT, well said.
I was wondering how Kang could get suspended over a dwi, but this guy still gets signed
Kangs drunk and driving seems habitual… more than one incident… you wanna unleash that on your teams city?
not rooting for Russell the person, but I have a hard time wanting to see good talent not get its play as the selfish person i am. i wolnt get angry at any team that signs him as a private company – that’s their own prerogative – but i just would rather it not bpe mine at any point in the near future.
An abuser like him on a team with the name”Heroes” New Jersey Devils might be more fitting.
Much like Jameis Winston being a member of the Saints.
Some people that moving to another country to play baseball is difficult or something. They need to realize that all international players have to immigrate to the United States to work.
Plus, Korea is pretty cool.
That is so inaccurate. You do not need to immigrate here. If you are an athlete from a foreign country either then Canada ( they are treated differently for obvious reasons not the least of which is Americans playing on the Blue Jays, Canadian hockey teams and in the CFL so it works both ways.Basically you get a P-1 Visa which allows you to play during a season ( Baseball, NHL etc), or various events ( PGA Tour for example) up to a certain amount of days. After the season ends, you return to your country of residence. That visa also allows you to bring your spouse with you ( but they cannot work).,If you so choose, you can trade that in for a green card, and then citizenship. For example; Evgheni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins followed that path. The one problem with green cards is ( just like citizens) you get taxed on your world wide income instead of just what you make here, so not everyone does it.
… And to think A’s Billy Bean was hardly criticized when traded then pricy prospect Russell to the Cubs. Addison just didn’t develop into a superstar.
Do you mean “hardly” as in harshly? Or “hardly” as in not very much?
Harshly. Thank you!
He had a pretty strong statistical year in ’16. Outside of that, we’re largely talking about a nothing-special type of SS. With things as they are, I can see a myriad of reasons why Major League Clubs lacked interest; and he’s headed across the drink.
which is why its not so worth lauding teams for passing on him. like in any sport, if you are good enough at it you can get away with almost anything. that’s part of why he’s headed to Korea – he’s probably good enough to play there.
I’m sure he will punch his way into the line up.
Peart of the game
Russell should be able to be an improvement over Taylor Motter and could be better than Dixon Machado has been for the Lotte Giants.
Good, you guys can have him.
So the Cubs take the PR hit and roll snake eyes for their efforts. So does Russell’s over all replacement level WAR combined with being a PR disaster qualify him as one of the worst prospects busts of all time?
Yea, I’m sure he was hoping to finally get an offer from Korea so he can live in such a cool country and experience it’s culture.
It’s a fall back, not what he wanted. Not the worst thing but let’s not pretend here.
That’s one of the highest salaries in the KBO. Many of the local players are making less than $50k a year.
As a Cubs fan, you have to wonder if the Cubs had the opportunity to trade him instead of Gleyber for Chapman in 2016 at the height of his value.
Anybody that just says “hindsight is 2020 and we still got a ‘ship” is naive and should ask themselves how 2017-2019 woukd have turned out for the Cubs with those players flipped.
You have to wonder the same thing regarding whether the White Sox would have taken Schwarber instead of Eloy.