FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell fields a ground ball by Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon during the fifth inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader in Washington. The Cubs have offered suspended shortstop Russell a 2019 contract while maintaining his future with the team is not uncertain. Russell is serving a 40-game domestic violence suspension following allegations by his ex-wife. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

Hamilton, Garcia, Schoop cut loose; Cubs keep Russell

November 30, 2018 - 10:24 pm

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 rubber-stamp 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.

Teams had a deadline Friday to offer contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters.

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.

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