Chicago Cubs: What’s next for Addison Russell after Torreyes acquisition?

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /

On Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs acquired infielder Ronald Torreyes from the New York Yankees. What does this mean for Addison Russell?

In the absence of more pivotal moves, the Chicago Cubs made a minor splash on Wednesday, acquiring former-Cub prospect Ronald Torreyes from the New York Yankees. The Yankees had designated Torreyes for assignment just a few days ago, making him available in trade, and the front office believes he could provide added depth to multiple infield positions.

Torreyes was originally acquired by the Cubs in December 2011 as part of a trade with the Reds involving Sean Marshall being sent to Cincinnati. The Cubs later dealt Torreyes to the Astros for international slot money in July 2013, and the infielder eventually found his way into the Yankees’ system by the 2016 season, serving in a super-utility bench role.

Interestingly enough, the non-tender deadline is November 30th, and the Cubs will be tasked with making a decision on one of their young infielders, Addison Russell. Should the Cubs decide to non-tender Russell, he would become a free agent immediately, allowing the Cubs to move on from the drama that has surrounded the young shortstop this offseason.

This is where the move for Torreyes makes a lot of sense. Despite having just a career .281/.310/.375 slash line, Torreyes provides his value defensively. He can play second, shortstop, and third base extremely well and has even played a handful of innings in the outfield.

Another scenario for the Cubs would be acquiring another second baseman this winter and keeping Baez at short. Either way, having Torreyes as a bench option for both positions helps Chicago’s planning. Ben Zobrist and David Bote represent other alternatives for second base. Thus, having Torreyes is important for the Cubs moving forward, especially if they decide to move on from Russell.

On the topic of Russell, don’t be surprised either way if the Cubs tender him a contract or not. Either way, they aren’t committed to Russell 100 percent moving forward. If the club tenders him a contract for the 2019 season, it may be as a tactic to convince other clubs that they are committed to him for the long-term, potentially upping his trade value this winter.

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The Cubs will tender Addison Russell a contract for the 2019 season, despite acquiring extra depth via Torreyes. Ultimately, I don’t expect Russell to play for the Cubs next season and would imagine the front office will work diligently to find a trade partner for him this winter.

However, if Russell is retained and no trade partner is found, Torreyes adds depth to the Cubs middle infield, specifically the shortstop position, in which Russell has exhibited his fair share of struggles.