Those who might wish this Adam LaRoche story–its bizarre controversy, its inability to fit into any defined box for rational debate, and its potential to rip focus away from a promising season–would just go away, are not going to have a very good St. Patrick’s Day.
1. ESPN is reporting the White Sox players considered boycotting their Wednesday game against the Brewers in protest of the team’s decision to try to curb LaRoche & Son’s access to the clubhouse. For the many who have wondered when Robin Ventura would make his way into this story, he reportedly headed off the protest, but now is in the position of mediating and managing a team outraged at upper management, while also being the conduit through which upper management imparts its wishes of the players.
“Sources told Ravech that White Sox manager Robin Ventura intervened and convinced the players, who were united in support of LaRoche, to take part in the game against the Brewers.
There likely will be a meeting in the coming days between owner Jerry Reinsdorf, executive vice president Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn to go over ground rules for clubhouse access for those in upper management. Sources said there is a division between those in the front office, and Ventura and his players regarding clubhouse access.”
CSN’s David Kaplan also reported that Chris Sale was among several White Sox veterans deeply upset about how the situation was handled, and that Kenny Williams saying LaRoche’s son couldn’t be a constant presence went against promises made by Rick Hahn and Robin Ventura.
Between everyone mining every background detail they can find on this admittedly bizarre and loaded story and LaRoche having yet to speak publicly on the matter since the actual reason broke, hopes of this story going away anytime soon seem faint at best.
Here’s another a dispute that seems like it could come up for discussion a few more times:
“Just so we’re clear: Sox agreed to let LaRoche have son be around 100% of the time. Condition of him agreeing to sign w/the White Sox. 100%.”
As opposed to:
“Drake LaRoche was always quiet and respectful in clubhouse . No contract language only verbal ok on his son being in locker room.”
It’s not actually in the contract, but the seriousness of a handshake agreement seems to be rife for interpretation, or more specifically, what sort of impact was implied if the OK for Drake LaRoche to be in the clubhouse was to removed, if any. If LaRoche had grounds for a grievance, that would likely have already emerged, but the team’s sense that a promise was broken is a fire–among others–that needs to be put out.
2. Let history show the first shot in the soon to be neverending barrage of background information provided to assess whether Adam LaRoche is truly #FamilyFirst, was fired by former Nationals GM Jim Bowden. Somehow, this has become the more entertaining vein of this story.
“Adam LaRoche – I am all about family too…as a former GM…my 5 boys were allowed to partake in spring training…shagging, taking grounders, hitting in the cages. But there was a time and a place and when myself or MGR felt it was time to shut it down we did, same for all players and their children. For LaRoche to walk away from $13m and to blame it on his son being asked to limit his presence is disgraceful. After hitting a measly .207 I hope that had more to do with it. Adam has publicly admitted to leaving his wife at the ball park on multiple occasions after games only to have to drive back to get her. I’m hoping this is just a LaRoche moment and he’ll come back tomorrow and take the blame away from a team president who asked his employee to just simply bring his son to work less.”
–Why is leaving $13 million on the table the part that requires someone to be blamed?
–What is a “LaRoche moment?” Please provide other “LaRoche moment” examples.
–Why was he leaving his wife at the ballpark? Did he forget she was there? Could she have taken a cab? Was she traveling with him and thus in the clubhouse six hours before game time along with all the players? How do you just drop an anecdote like this in the middle of this blurb and just leave unexplained and unqualified? If we have to be submitted to endless updates to this story, can they all have just as many breadcrumbs as this one?
Unrelated, here is a picture of the Washington Nationals dumping beer on Drake LaRoche.
3. Speaking of kids who are the source of heated debate, Avisail’s early Spring work swatting Quad-A hanging sliders into the nether regions has the Sox coaching staff offering encouraged words about his work to lower his hands in his stance.
J.J. Stankevitz spoke to Robin Ventura about it, and they seem more encouraged that Garcia is spooked enough to start taking mechanical adjustments serious than the results he’s offering.
“Part of that becomes his confidence and how he feels. I think he’s starting to understand what we’re talking about, and he can see it, feel it, and I think the numbers are there to back it up. Spring’s always, to me, if a guy has a good spring, it’s nice, but it doesn’t really mean anything.
“I think for him, making noticeable changes that we know he’s making, he’s receptive to it. That’s part of going through this. I think you’re encouraged by all that.”
4. Youth ruled the day Wednesday in the Sox Spring showdown with the Brewers, as Tim Anderson got some action at shortstop, tripled, scored, and flashed the kind of athleticism and arm strength on a ball to his right off the bat of Eric Young, Jr. that provides optimism that he can stick at shortstop, as opposed to say, just having to settle for being an elite center fielder.
Carlos Rodon got touched up for four runs in 3.1 innings, the first scoring he allowed all Spring, but was clearly working on using his changeup, generating more movement with it, and trying to spot it in the corners of the zone. He’ll get back to vaporizing batters with sliders soon enough.
5. Check out the Future Sox crew talking about their expectations for the upcoming year for the White Sox farm system. It’s always fun to see people who really know the system talk about their sleeper picks, because you get a lot of excited discussion about Johan Cruz and 19 year-old Yosmer Solorzano. Part two of their roundtable posted Thursday and it sounds like this could be the year where Courtney Hawkins‘ flaws bottom out his prospect hype.