Former World Series champion Addison Russell eyes MLB return – one day

Addison Russell has reached the mountaintop of professional baseball before.

He was drafted 11th overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft. He was a 2016 MLB All-Star. He also helped the Chicago Cubs break a 100-plus year World Series drought.

However, Russell is far from the baseball summit he once stood. He’s currently in his second season with the Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican Baseball League. And while he enjoys playing for Monclova, he longs to reach baseball’s mountaintop once again.

“Of course, I have my set goals for myself,” Russell said. “Baseball is going to give me a home where I need to play. I just try to come out here and be the best teammate I can be. Compete every single day – just see where I go from there. But I definitely do not want to be here the rest of my life. I have my own goals. I would love to get back to the major leagues – that’s the ultimate goal. ”

Russell certainly has the talent to be in the big leagues – there’s a reason why he was highly drafted a decade ago. He’s proven he can still produce at a quality level with the Acereros as he is currently slashing .333 / .425 / .545 with 20 RBIs and 25 runs, including six homers, this year. He has a strong chance to become a Mexican League All-Star. However, there’s a reason why he’s no longer in the majors.

Russell, a key piece to the Cubs’ 2016 World Series run, sat out a total of 40 games – 11 in the 2018 season and 29 in the 2019 season – after MLB deemed his wife’s allegations of abuse credible.

Melisa Reidy-Russell initially took to Instagram in June 2017 to accuse Russell of a year and a half of cheating. A friend of Reidy-Russell’s commented with allegations of abuse, prompting MLB to open an investigation into the allegations. Despite initially refusing to cooperate with the investigation, Reidy-Russell eventually told accounts of physical and emotional abuse throughout the couple’s two-year marriage. They would finalize their divorce in August 2017.


Russell returned to the field after completing his 40-game suspension. But he was met with boos and struggled to maintain his position in the lineup. Chicago sent him to Triple-A Iowa briefly before he was tendered at the end of the 2019 season. Since then, he’s played internationally in South Korea – in 2020 – and Mexico – the past two seasons.

“It’s been good,” Russell said of his two seasons with Monclova. “I love the food. I love my teammates. The manager is awesome. I’ve played with a lot of these guys. The comfortability coming into the clubhouse was there. We are just a good team overall. ”

Former big-league stars usually use international leagues as ways to get back to the majors. First baseman Eric Thames went from MLB to the Korean Baseball Organization back to MLB. Current St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas went from MLB to KBO back to MLB, too.

Russell hopes to do the same. But with his domestic violence allegation, Russell faces an uphill battle as more and more teams have become weary to sign players with such situations.

Although Russell has the accusation against him, Acereros sports director Jose Melendez said the shortstop is one of the nicest players he has worked with during his 18 years in the business. And Melendez believes Russell deserves another shot at the big leagues.

“I just do not understand why he’s here again,” Melendez said. “Last year, he did show he has the capabilities to be in the major leagues. I guess, he just needs a team to forgive him for whatever happened in his personal life. They just need to get to know and understand him that whatever he did, if it was true or not, that he has learned from it. I believe people deserve second opportunities. But if people keep messing up repeatedly, that’s when you should put a stop to their careers. ”

In his first season with Monclova – 2021 – Russell slashed .319 / .405 / .393 with 47 RBIs and 40 runs in 66 games.

Melendez also said there are some current major leaguers who have been accused of domestic violence and other troubling situations who got second, third or even fourth chances to continue their careers.

“He has every tool to be in the majors right now,” Melendez said. “Someone just needs to take a chance on him and make sure he has improved or changed as a person from what his accusations were.”

Russell wants to be back in Major League Baseball. That’s his goal. He wants to reach the mountaintop of professional baseball again.

Although that’s his hope, Russell does not know if he’ll ever achieve it. He knows the cards are stacked against him. However, he believes he’s shown throughout his two seasons with the Acereros he has what it takes to be a quality major leaguer. He knows all he needs is a chance. But until he potentially gets that, he’ll continue to put in the work and play the sport he feels grateful to be a part of.

“I just came here last year,” Russell said. “I fell in love with the league, so I came back this year. I am grateful to be here. ”

garrett.kroeger@lmtonline.com

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