Adam LaRoche and his abrupt decision to retire has now caused a tension inside the Chicago White Sox’s clubhouse and might spell a major concern as the team is heading to the opening of the Major Baseball League.
LaRoche’s retirement was announced after he got upset with the team’s Executive Vice President Kenny Williams announcement that his son, Drake, could not come with him on an everyday basis to the team’s clubhouse. If LaRoche does insist of retiring, that will give the White Sox a breather especially in their salary cap.
LaRoche signed a two-year contract with the Chicago White Sox worth $25 million, including a guaranteed $25 million and an annual average salary of $12,500,000. In 2016, LaRoche will earn a base salary of $13 million and has a cap hit of $13 million.
However, Williams told USA Today that the decision has nothing personal against LaRoche’s son but simply a corporate decision that imposes rules in their workplace.
“Tell me where in America you can bring your child to work every day. And how can you manage it? How can you manage the next guy… And the next guy. That’s not fair. Simply, you have to make a decision from the management perspective or an organization at large. We went into this season saying to ourselves, ‘We are going to commit and focus and not leave any stone unturned,’” Williams said.
Williams added that he talked with LaRoche and told the first baseman that he could bring his son to the clubhouse and even to the field “every now and then.” Williams is standing by his decision citing that other players are now keeping watch what they say inside the clubhouse because a minor is among them. He even cleared that LaRoche and other players can bring their kids over but not every day.
“I just told him that he needed to dial it back, that’s all. Look, I don’t want this to turn into something that makes Drake feel badly. He is such a good kid and so loved around here. But the kid is there every day. In the clubhouse. And on the field. During drills. Everywhere,” Williams explained.
But Williams’ decision did not sit well with other players, who have grown fond of having Drake around them even saying that he is the White Sox’s 26th man. According to CSN Chicago, LaRoche’s teammates support his decision to “choose family above other things.” One of the most outspoken of the matter is outfielder Adam Eaton.
“We wanted Drake in the clubhouse, and we were backing Adam in every aspect. In that sense, we’re going to miss him. He chose family over allowing his son to be in the clubhouse and we respect what he had to do. The man and the character that Adam LaRoche is, we’re not surprised he chose his family. He’s a God-fearing man, and you have to respect that. It is, a tough little go at it, but I respect his decision,” Eaton added.
Eaton went on to state that all the players inside the Clubhouse enjoyed being around Drake, who even helps out and was not a burden to any of the players.
“We can say we enjoyed Drake LaRoche in the clubhouse and everything he brought in the clubhouse. He brought perspective. He helped out and around, he wasn’t a burden by any stretch of the imagination. He wasn’t a big problem last year,” Eaton stressed.
While LaRoche has not “technically” finalized his decision, the White Sox will just have to wait and see of what the 36-year old first baseman will do next. If he does retire, then the team will have a wide salary space and a busy week to land a possible replacement from the free agent market.
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