With the New York Yankees focusing all of their attention on Gerrit Cole early this offseason it is likely they are going to let Didi Gregorius walk. This means there may or may not be room for another infielder on the roster. George King of the New York Post recently wrote on Saturday, December 8th that the Yankees should consider signing Addison Russell who was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs.
This is a move the Yankees should avoid unless Russell is willing to play for the league minimum, which he won’t. His domestic violence history, while in the past, is negative publicity the Yankees should avoid, especially since they already have Aroldis Chapman and Domingo German on the roster. Chapman hasn’t had an incident since the domestic violence incident that earned him a 30-game suspension which made him the first player suspended under MLB’s domestic violence initiative. German was involved in an incident at the end of last season where an MLB employee saw him striking his girlfriend. German has yet to be suspended by MLB but could face a 40-game suspension. Adding Russell to the mix would just send the wrong signal.
I am a firm believer in second chances and being able to right wrongs. However, the Yankees have already given a second chance to Chapman and presumably will to German. They don’t need to do the same for Russell. In fact, they should avoid Russell at all costs.
Adding Russell would be a terrible public relations move. However, from a pure baseball standpoint it makes no sense. Russell, who will turn 26 in January, has slashed just .242/.312/.392 in 615 games across five seasons. He can certainly improve but the Yankees have better options on their roster and in their organization that will cost less and have as much or more upside than Russell.
Options for the Yankees include moving Gleyber Torres to shortstop and putting D.J. LeMahieu at second base, his natural position. There is also Tyler Wade who has finally shown some flashes at the big league level and offers more versatility than Russell would. There is also Thairo Estrada who got his first shot at Major League ball last summer and also showed flashes just one year removed from a gunshot wound that cost him most of 2018. Before that, however, Estrada was one of the Yankees’ top prospects. There is also the return of Miguel Andujar who could reclaim his third base job and potentially move Gio Urshela into a super utility role since he does have experience playing shortstop, second, and third.
No matter how you slice it Russell doesn’t fit with the Yankees. He doesn’t fit by cost. He doesn’t fit by production. He doesn’t fit due to the public relations issues. No matter which way you cut it Russell doesn’t fit. For King to suggest he does is just a terrible take.