CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- The Chicago Cubs will tender a contract to shortstop Addison Russell, maintaining club control on the 24-year-old for the 2019 season.
Russell will serve a 40-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. The Cubs placed Russell on administrative leave on Sept. 21 after his ex-wife alleged domestic abuse in a blog post.
Both Russell and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein released statements in conjunction with the decision.
“I offer my heartfelt apology to my family and my former wife Melisa for my past behavior," Russell said in his statement. "I also want to apologize to Cubs fans, the Cubs organization, and my teammates for letting them down. Since accepting my suspension, I’ve had time to reflect on my past behavior and think about the next steps I need to take to grow as a person."
Russell's statement concluded: “I am just in the early stages of this process. It is work that goes far beyond being a baseball player – it goes to my core values of being the best family man, partner, and teammate that I can be, and giving back to the community and the less fortunate. While there is a lot of work ahead for me to earn back the trust of the Cubs fans, my teammates, and the entire organization, it’s work that I am 110 percent committed to doing.”
Friday's decision does not "rubber-stamp" Russell's place on the roster, Epstein said in his statement.
“Today, we are taking the procedural step of tendering Addison a non-guaranteed contract in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players," the statement said. "While this decision leaves the door open for Addison to later make an impact for us on the field, it does not represent the finish line nor rubber-stamp his future as a Cub. It does however reflect our support for him as long as he continues to make progress and demonstrates his commitment to these important issues."
Epstein's statement ended by saying: “We understand every action we take and word we use sends a message to our fans – all of whom have their own unique experiences and perspectives, and some of whom have a personal connection to domestic violence. The message we would like to leave you with is we take the issue of domestic violence seriously. There is a long road ahead for Addison, and we will hold him accountable. There also is a long road ahead for our organization as we attempt to make some good of this situation. We are committed to being a part of the solution.”
Russell posted a slash line of .250/.317/.340 over 110 games last season, hitting five home runs and 38 RBIs. He has played four major-league seasons, all with the Cubs, and was an All-Star shortstop in 2016.