Hamil­ton, Gar­cia and Schoop non-ten­dered

Sunday Star - - OUTDOORS -

NEW YORK (AP) — Speedy out­fielder Billy Hamil­ton and

2017 All-Stars Avi­sail Gar­cia and Jonathan Schoop be­came free agents Fri­day when they were among 43 play­ers cut loose by teams that failed to of­fer 2019 con­tracts, but the Chicago Cubs hung onto short­stop Ad­di­son Rus­sell de­spite his

40-game do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sus­pen­sion that ex­tends un­til May.

Cubs pres­i­dent of pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions Theo Ep­stein called the de­ci­sion a pro­ce­du­ral step and said it “does not rep­re­sent the fin­ish line nor rub­ber­stamp his fu­ture” with them.

“It does how­ever re­flect our sup­port for him as long as he con­tin­ues to make progress and demon­strates his com­mit­ment to th­ese im­por­tant is­sues,” Ep­stein added.

Rus­sell ac­cepted the sus­pen­sion fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions made by his ex-wife Melisa Reidy. Though Rus­sell has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions, he apol­o­gized to Reidy and his fam­ily for “my past be­hav­ior.”

“Since ac­cept­ing my sus­pen­sion, I’ve had time to re­flect on my past be­hav­ior and think about the next steps I need to take to grow as a per­son,” Rus­sell said in a state­ment is­sued by the Cubs.

Rus­sell said he will meet reg­u­larly with ex­perts and coun­selors man­dated by his treat­ment plan. He said he also plans to keep work­ing with his own ther­a­pist, whom he has been see­ing sev­eral times a week the past two months.

He also hopes to work with non-profit groups in his home­town of Pen­sacola, Florida, as well as Chicago and Ari­zona.

“I am just in the early stages of this process,” Rus­sell said. “It is work that goes far be­yond be­ing a base­ball player. It goes to my core val­ues of be­ing the best fam­ily man, part­ner, and team­mate that I can be, and giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity

and the less for­tu­nate. While there is a lot of work ahead for me to earn back the trust of the Cubs fans, my team­mates, and the en­tire or­ga­ni­za­tion, it’s work that I am 110 per­cent com­mit­ted to do­ing.”

Teams had a Fri­day evening dead­line to of­fer con­tracts to un­signed play­ers on their 40-man ros­ters, the last chance to in ef­fect re­lease salary ar­bi­tra­tionel­i­gi­ble

play­ers at no cost.

The 28-year-old Hamil­ton hit .236 with four homers and 29 RBIs this year for last-place Cincin­nati as his stolen bases dropped to 34, and the Reds did not want to pay the raise he would get in ar­bi­tra­tion from his $4.6 mil­lion salary. He swiped 56 bases and in 2014 and in­creased his to­tal by one an­nu­ally in each of the next three sea­sons.

Gar­cia was lim­ited to 93 games last season for the White Sox be­cause of dis­com­fort in his right knee that led to surgery in Oc­to­ber,

and his bat­ting av­er­age dropped from .330 to

.236, too much of a de­cline for Chicago given the $6.7 mil­lion he won at a salary ar­bi­tra­tion hear­ing last Fe­bru­ary.

Schoop spent his en­tire ca­reer with Bal­ti­more be­fore Mil­wau­kee ac­quired the sec­ond base­man at the July

31 trade dead­line for sec­ond base­man Jonathan Vil­lar and a pair of prospects. Schoop hit .202 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 46 games for the Brew­ers, then was 0 for 8 in the post­sea­son. He made $8.5 mil­lion.

“We looked at what was a best-ed­u­cated pre­dic­tion of what we could ex­pect go­ing for­ward and the po­ten­tial price tag for that, then com­pared that to some of our in­ter­nal al­ter­na­tives and what is po­ten­tially avail­able ex­ter­nally and we de­cided to go in this di­rec­tion,” Brew­ers gen­eral man­ager David Stearns said. “Look, it was a bad deal, and that’s on me. We made a trade for a player we thought was go­ing to be here for ba­si­cally a year and a half, and I was wrong.”

Oth­ers set free in­cluded Bal­ti­more third base­man

Tim Beck­ham and catcher Caleb Joseph; Detroit catcher James McCann and pitcher Alex Wil­son; Los An­ge­les An­gels pitcher Matt Shoe­maker; Min­ne­sota out­fielder Rob­bie Gross­man; Oak­land pitch­ers Mike Fiers, Cory Gear­rin and Ken­dall Grave­man; New York Mets in­fielder Wilmer Flores; Philadel­phia first base­man Justin Bour; and San Fran­cisco pitcher Hunter Strick­land.

Among play­ers who agreed to one-year con­tracts ahead of the dead­line were Min­ne­sota first base­man

C.J. Cron, who hit 30 home runs for Tampa Bay, then was claimed off waivers. He got a $4.8 mil­lion deal.

San Fran­cisco reached agree­ments with re­liever Sam Dyson at $5 mil­lion and sec­ond base­man Joe Panik at $3.85 mil­lion.

Oth­ers agree­ing in­cluded Cleve­land right-han­der Danny Salazar ($4.5 mil­lion), Los An­ge­les Dodgers left-han­der An­thony Cin­grani ($2.65 mil­lion), At­lanta left-han­der Jonny Ven­ters

($2.25 mil­lion) and Oak­land right-han­der Liam Hen­driks

($2.15 mil­lion).

AP PHOTO

For­mer Ori­oles Jonathan Schoop is a free agent af­ter be­ing non-ten­dered by the Brew­ers.

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