Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer has offered an explanation for the team's decision to keep shortstop Addison Russell following multiple accusations of domestic violence from his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy.
Appearing on Chicago's ESPN 1000 (h/t ESPN.com's Jesse Rogers), Hoyer said the team spoke with multiple experts before tendering Russell a contract for the 2019 season.
"We knew that it would be unpopular in some ways," Hoyer said. "People have a visceral reaction to reading about what happened. So did we. The more that we worked and talked to experts and worked through it ... we felt like having a conditional second chance was the right thing to do. It was recommended by experts."
Reidy wrote on her personal blog last September that he was physically and emotionally abusive throughout their relationship, including in front of the couple's son:
"I was deeply hurt that he could even be capable of this behavior towards me, I couldn't understand how the man I was so in love with, the FATHER of my child, the man I married just a few months ago could show such aggression towards me. ... But, as I expected our visit was a nightmare, I swore to myself it would be the last time he'd lay his hands on me & it would be that last time I'd let my son be a witness to it."
Major League Baseball placed Russell on administrative leave before announcing he received a 40-game suspension retroactive to Sept. 21.
Russell signed a one-year deal for $3.4 million on Jan. 11, but he won't be paid for the first 29 games of the season while finishing out his suspension.
After the Cubs tendered Russell a contract, the 24-year-old said in a statement he was going to start counseling and meeting with therapists as part of the MLB and MLB Players Association treatment plan.
The Cubs will open the 2019 season on March 28 against the Texas Rangers. Russell is eligible to return on May 3.