Chicago Cubs: Addison Russell’s return will divide fanbase

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Suspended Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is eligible to be activated soon. How will the Cubs fanbase react?

The Chicago Cubs have recently found their groove after their sluggish start to the season. They have not lost a series since the first weekend in April and now find themselves within striking distance of first place in the National League Central division. Everything is going right for the Cubs, but that could all soon change.

Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is eligible to be activated from the restricted list on May 3rd. He was suspended by MLB for violating the joint domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy.  Russell chose not to appeal this suspension and sat out the final ten games of the 2018 regular season, with the remainder carrying over to this season. He has recently been assigned to Triple-A Iowa to begin getting ready for his return.

The primary dispute I see going around on social media right now is “is Russell just going to be inserted into the everyday linep like nothing ever happened?” Not to mention it forces one of the Cubs best players in Javier Baez to switch positions, returning back to second base to make room for Russell. Speaking of the existing roster, the Cubs added Daniel Descalso in the offseason to primarily man second base and has been doing a fantastic job thus far.

Descalso is slashing 0.310/0.394/0.448 through April 24th. Baez would do fine at second base, that’s not the issue. It is the notion that Russell could potentially be the everyday shortstop again while other players like a David Bote, like a Ben Zobrist have stepped up in his absence with no complaints. David Bote has been as clutch as they come and certainly deserves a roster spot.

In 20 games this season, Bote is slashing 0.304/0.385/0.478 while playing terrific defense at third base. That does not even take into account that he recently just signed a five-year contract extension with the team. You can’t possibly send him back down, right? If Bote sees more time time at third base, that forces Kris Bryant to play more of the outfield, which is fine. However, Ben Zobrist needs playing time in his final season under contract with the Cubs. He can fill in at second base or either of the corner outfield spots.

My point is that the positions on the infield and outfield are pretty much set with either an everyday player or a guy who is capable of playing multiple positions that deserves the playing time. Theo Epstein has stated that nothing is guaranteed with Russell in a recent interview.

You also then worry about Russell becoming a distraction on the team, despite him not trying to be one. He’ll certainly come under tremendous scrutiny with the media asking him questions non-baseball related in post-game interviews. I also wonder what his teammates think of him as a person. I understand some of them have come forth and say they have his back, but not all the guys will feel this way.

"“We’re all on the same page with it,” Hendricks said on Inside the Clubhouse on Saturday. “We’re all on board. We love Addison. We love Melisa too. Everything that happened is unfortunate. We’re just behind him. He’s our teammate, and we’re backing him. We want him to be the best person he can be, whatever that process is going to take. We’re focused on on the field and what we have to take care of business-wise, but obviously just who he is as a person and the developments that he’s going to make, we’re here for him. Anything he needs, anything really anyone needs in this situation, we’re just trying to be as supportive as we can.” – 670 The Score"

I just hope it does not impact this good vibe that the team has found again this season that seemed to be lacking last year. I mentioned social media, right? What I have been seeing lately is people would like Russell to really go anywhere but here (to put it politely). There will be fans that openly root for him because they don’t think he did anything wrong or there was not enough evidence in the case against him. However someone spins it, people are going to feel very differently about this situation. It’s going to be at both ends of the spectrum, nothing in-between.

Trending. 3 potential options for the closer role. light

I am curious to see what happens when he comes back and hits a two-run double or a walk-off home run. Will fans start to accept him or will they remain set on their stance? I have a lot of questions about Addison Russell returning to this team and not enough answers. What are your thoughts on this?