Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is currently on administrative leave issued by the MLB commissioner’s office following allegations from his ex-wife Melisa Reidy detailing the abuse she says she suffered during their marriage. Russell, through the MLB Players Association, released a statement denying these allegations late Friday:
The Major League Baseball Players Association is releasing the following statement on behalf of Addison Russell pic.twitter.com/lQkp8GMdN0— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) September 22, 2018
The MLB/MLBPA Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that administrative leave is a seven-day period with the possibility of a single extension for a maximum leave of 14 days. It is possible, though, for the league to negotiate additional extensions with the players union as they did six times during the Roberto Osuna investigation earlier this year.
Players on administrative leave receive their full salary but are not eligible to participate in any team activities. Players who are on administrative leave are also automatically placed on the restricted list, so if you take a look at the Cubs 40-man roster at the moment you'll see that it currently stands at 39 players. It is possible that the Cubs could look to fill that spot for the remainder of the regular season.
Players on administrative leave also have the right to challenge that decision, and according to Ken Rosenthal, that could happen:
MLB’s domestic-violence policy allows #Cubs’ Russell to request emergency hearing that must take place within 24 hours of him asking to be removed from administrative leave. Sources say Russell, his agent Scott Boras and the players’ union are strongly considering that option.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 22, 2018
If the decision is challenged, Russell's case would go to an arbitration hearing within 24 hours. His leave could be removed if that hearing finds either a reason to doubt the veracity of the allegations or that he poses no current danger to his family and his presence in the clubhouse would not be disruptive to his team, as stated in the CBA:
Although Administrative Leave under paragraph B above is not disciplinary, a Player placed on such leave may request an in-person or telephonic hearing before the Grievance Arbitration Panel (the “Arbitration Panel”) within 24 hours of such request to seek reinstatement to the active roster while the Commissioner’s Office investigates the allegations. The Arbitration Panel shall issue a ruling on such reinstatement request within 24 hours of the close of the hearing. If the Arbitrator is not available in that time frame, the request shall be heard by an alternate Arbitrator selected by the Parties pursuant to Article XI(A)(10) of the Basic Agreement. The Arbitration Panel shall remove the Player from Administrative Leave if it determines that (a) the allegations that the Player engaged in a Covered Act are not supported by credible information, or (b) that allowing the Player to remain active during the Commissioner’s Office’s investigation is consistent with the safety of the victim(s) and will not cause significant disruption to the Player’s Club.
If Russell and Boras successfully challenge the administrative leave, the ball would be back in the Cubs’ court as to how to deal with Russell's future with the team. At Friday's press conference Theo Epstein stated that the Cubs agreed with MLB's decision and said, regarding Russell:
“It would have sent the wrong message to have Addison wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform this morning,” he said.
It will be interesting to see how Cubs management responds if this hearing is requested and the leave is overturned.