Editor's Note: The video above is from August 23, 2013 when Addison Russell was a member of the A's organization.
The Cubs essentially viewed Addison Russell as untouchable heading into this season, and winning two playoff rounds with him as their shortstop only reinforced that idea.
Russell didn’t generate the same Rookie of the Year buzz as Kris Bryant — and couldn’t match Kyle Schwarber taking aim at the Allegheny River and a Wrigley Field video board — but he showed he’s just as much a core player as those two power hitters.
Just ask manager Joe Maddon if the Cubs missed Russell’s presence during the National League Championship Series.
To be clear, the New York Mets never trailed during that four-game sweep and outplayed the Cubs in every phase of the game from start to finish. It’s not like Russell’s presence would have meant facing the Kansas City Royals in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Russell — who had been sidelined with a strained left hamstring — couldn’t have stopped Daniel Murphy from turning the biggest games of his life into batting practice. Russell wouldn’t have intimidated that rotation — Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom — or lights-out closer Jeurys Familia.
But Javier Baez committing an error on a defensive shift on the second pitch set the tone for a sloppy Game 3 loss. And it underlined why the Cubs see the low-key Russell as their franchise shortstop and a stabilizing force for low-scoring games in October.
“Of course, we miss Addison,” Maddon said. “You look at the record that we had with him playing at shortstop. And this is by no means a negative towards Javy. But (with) Addison (it’s) the combination of what he does for us defensively and offensively. This guy could drive in a critical run and (it’s) just (his) understanding of what’s going on in the field. He really grew quickly this year.”
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