Legions of Cubs fans are vexed by the team’s purported lack of additional payroll and many of those are likewise upset by the team’s continued employment of Addison Russell. At the intersection of those not-insignificant factions are some folks willing to help the Cubs with both their moral and financial dilemmas.
A group calling themselves “The Cubs Fans of Twitter” has established a GoFundMe campaign titled, “Addison Russell Pink Slip Fund.” They’ve established a lofty goal of $4.3 million, Russell’s projected arbitration salary for 2019, to encourage the Cubs to release the shortstop. Ah, but it’s not about donating the money to the Cubs in order to offset that salary.
Rather, the money is earmarked for the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic of Chicago, which provides free civil legal assistance to victims of domestic violence. That’s for the best, since the Cubs don’t really need the money regardless of what they say about available funds. And even if the fundraiser generates only a fraction of its intended goal, it’ll go to help a worthy cause.
Here’s the full text from the GoFundMe page:
We would like to pay Addison Russell to go away.
We offer you his entire projected salary in 2019, to be donated to the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic of Chicago, in hopes that you will release him from your roster. We’ve read in the press that you’re barely scraping by. While we, like most Americans, can’t imagine what it’s like to be wealthy and powerful beyond all measure, we’ve come together to scrape our pockets and dig into our couch cushions in hopes that one or preferably all of you decide to find a soul.
“You go talk to their girlfriend, you go talk to their ex girlfriends…” – said our brave leader, Theodorus Nathaniel Epstein, on 60 Minutes. He promised us that times would change. We were told that character counts. And we’ve already been asked to forgive a lot on that score. We haven’t forgotten Aroldis Chapman.
Now you’ve been presented with a man who has choked his wife in front of his children, who has been delinquent in his child support, who has mentally and physically abused his wife for years, and who has been suspended by Major League Baseball after accepting responsibility for his actions. It’s long past time to do the right thing.
Release him. He does not deserve the honor of having this position. He is not entitled to a job as a major league baseball player. He is a repeat offender, a danger to any woman around him, and it would spit in the face of every fan of this team to tell us that you respect us so little, that you don’t mind demanding that we clap our hands for a man who has used his to do much, much worse.
As always, all the power rests in your hands, all we can do is wait, and wish, and hope that we’re fans of human beings with souls, and not spineless jellyfish, clinging desperately to a cruel man who would cause millions of us trauma and pain to see in a Cubs uniform again. It’s time for you to give Addison Russell the pink slip.
The Fans of Cubs Twitter
The deadline for teams to exchange arbitration figures with eligible players is Friday, January 11 and we’ve already discussed here how the Cubs could opt for a file-and-trial strategy this season. While they’ll likely work out deals with most players, their budget crunch may lead to the team trying to save some money on some of those arb raises.
Given his performance and the fact that he’ll open the season by serving out the remainder of a 40-game domestic violence suspension, Russell is a prime candidate to receive a low offer. That $4.3 million figure cited above is the projection of record, though the Cubs could opt to file for as little as 80 percent of Russell’s $3.01 million from 2018. That would bring his 2019 salary to $2.4 million*, a savings of nearly $2 million for a team that supposedly can’t even sign Adam Warren without first moving money.
The Cardinals have added Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller; the Reds picked up Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig while dumping Homer Bailey; the Brewers signed Yasmani Grandal; the Pirates still have Chris Archer and should be pesky enough behind red-assed Clint Hurdle to be a nuisance. And the Cubs, well, they’ve added Daniel Descalso and Kendall Graveman, the latter of whom likely won’t pitch this season. Something has to eventually spur them to action, right?
Maybe this fundraiser doesn’t provide that impetus right away, but it’s a concerted effort by some Cubs fans to affect positive change. It’s often said fans vote with their wallets and that’s exactly what’s happening here. Of course, if Russell is still on the team come opening day and other notable free agents are not, we may see more fans voting with their wallets in a totally different manner.
*Russell will forfeit a pro-rated amount of that salary due to the suspension, which could even be extended if MLB determines he further violated the joint DV policy as it regards child support.