Former Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is nearing a deal to join the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Friday night.
Former Cubs SS Addison Russell is finalizing a one-year contract with the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN. Russell, who was non-tendered by Chicago last year after serving a 40-game domestic-violence suspension, should soon be in South Korea.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 20, 2020
#KBO signing: Addison Russell signs with Kiwoom Heroes. $530,000 deal.— Jeeho Yoo (@Jeeho_1) June 20, 2020
Russell's embattled Cubs tenure came to an end last December after the club opted not to tender him a contract. His time on the North Side was beset with on- and off-the-field struggles, and the 26-year-old never lived up to his pedigree as one of the game's former top prospects (No. 3 overall in 2015, per Baseball America).
MLB suspended Russell 40 games at the end of the 2018 season for violating the league's domestic abuse policies. The Cubs tendered him a deal for 2019 and he rejoined the club in May. They demoted him to Triple-A in July following a series of mental lapses on the field, both on the bases and defensively.
Russell always rated average or better defensively but never replicated his offensive output from 2016, when he hit 21 homers with 95 RBIs. His OPS dipped under .700 the past two seasons as Javier Báez simultaneously emerged at the plate. Báez' ascension and Gold Glove caliber defense, along with Nico Hoerner's quick path to the big leagues and ability to play short and second base, made Russell expendable.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.