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Former Cubs shortstop Addison Russell signs with KBO team following domestic violence suspension

Tim Brown
MLB columnist
Former Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, non-tendered this offseason after serving a domestic violence suspension, is signing with a team in the KBO. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Former Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell has agreed to a contract with the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, sources said Friday.

Russell, 26, was non-tendered by the Cubs in December after a season in which he’d been suspended 40 games for a violation of Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. A one-time All-Star and .242 hitter in five seasons with the Cubs, one of those as the starting shortstop for the 2016 World Series champions, Russell did not then sign with a major league club.

Following an MLB investigation into accusations of physical and verbal abuse made by his ex-wife, Melisa, Russell accepted a suspension last October. He returned in May primarily as a second baseman and batted .237 with nine home runs over 82 games. 

Russell was due to make about $5 million through salary arbitration in 2020. The Cubs said their decision to cut ties with Russell was based on his projected role, behind Javier Báez at shortstop and several candidates, including offseason signee Jason Kipnis, at second base.

In February, Russell told reporters he had sought counseling and would continue to address his personal issues through therapy.

“I want to own those actions,” he said. “I am sorry for the hurt I have caused Melisa and the pain that I put her through. I am trying my best efforts to become a better person.”

Russell has two children.

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