It's easy to view Addison Russell's third big-league season as a disappointment, but when you consider that most players his age are still making their way through the upper levels of the minor leagues, you can still find reasons to be optimistic about his future. Shoulder soreness temporarily derailed him in May, and could have contributed to his worst month of the season (.579 OPS), and Russell's first half as a whole (.226/.297/.381) was a step back from his previous levels. In addition to the injury, Russell and his wife started divorce proceedings in June. A foot strain cost Russell six weeks during the second half, but he hit .274/.324/.516 over his final 30 games, and swatted five of his 12 homers during that span. A rebound back to his 2016 numbers doesn't seem out of the question if he's able to secure a place in the middle-third of the Cubs' lineup again to begin 2018, as his glove should keep him on the field as an everyday player when healthy.
Russell agreed to a one-year, $3.2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Last season was a disappointment for Russell, as he missed time due to foot and shoulder injuries and his rate stats went in the wrong direction. Russell seems likely to return to a regular role in his age-24 season, but he will need to fare better at the plate or else he could be squeezed out of the lineup more than once or twice per week.
Russell is out of the lineup against the Reds on Friday. Russell will stay on the bench for the second straight day now that the Cubs have secured a place in the playoffs. Mike Freeman will get the nod at shortstop while batting eighth in the order.
Russell is not in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Cardinals. Russell will get a well deserved day off after launching what proved to be the game-winning, three-run homer in Wednesday's division-clinching 5-1 win over the Cardinals. Mike Freeman will start at shortstop and bat eighth in his stead.
Russell went 1-for-4 with a three-run home run in Wednesday's 5-1 win over the Cardinals. His seventh-inning shot proved to be not only the game winner but the division winner, as the Cubs clinched the NL Central with the victory. Russell now has 12 homers in just 108 games on the year, but he'll need to stay healthy to take a step forward as a hitter in 2018.
Russell is not in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Cardinals. Russell started seven of the last eight games and does not have a great track record against Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez (7-for-26, .604 OPS), so manager Joe Maddon decided it was time for a day off. With Javier Baez also out Tuesday, Mike Freeman will get the start at shortstop.