After the Cubs’ 2017 season ended with a loss to the Dodgers last October, President Theo Epstein raised the possibility of needing to trade one of his young players to acquire starting pitching.
That never materialized for several reasons, and shortstop Addison Russell admitted he was relieved to stay with the Cubs.
“There was a lot of trade talk,” Russell said Saturday morning. “My initial thoughts were, ‘I hope it doesn’t happen. But wherever I go, I’ll try to bring to the table what I bring here.’
“It’s a good thing it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m happy being in a Cubs uniform. I want to be in a Cubs uniform for sure. But there was some talk out there. If I got traded, I got traded. But that’s not the case here.”
Russell said the foot and shoulder issues that limited him to 110 games last season have subsided. And he appears more relaxed after acknowledging the stress of off-the-field issues that included social media posts alleging domestic abuse, which he denied.
“It was tough, but I got through the year in a good sense of mental capacities,” Russell said. “This year is looking better. That’s what I’m looking forward to, is this year.”
Russell said his offseason program focused on stamina, particularly with his shoulder and foot.
“It’s more about (avoiding my) body getting run down,” Russell said. “And also the off-the-field stuff. But that’s last year. We won’t talk about that.”