We're now on day four of the Adam LaRoche saga, and it doesn't seem like this story is going to die down as quickly as the White Sox hoped it would. After being named as one of the most vocal players against the decision to keep LaRoche's son, Drake, out of the clubhouse, Chris Sale spoke to the media.
Q: If this happened before spring training and talked about it with the players do you think it would have had a better reception?
A: No doubt. I think if the right person had handled it I think it would have been completely different. This isn't us rebelling against rules. This is kind of us rebelling against BS, plain and simple. It's not the fact we have a problem with the rules. We have to wear suits on the plane, we all dress up nice, carry ourselves in professional manners. But when it comes to what goes on in the clubhouse, the right person has to handle that and that's Robin (Ventura). He's the top, he's the leader of the clubhouse ultimately and if there's something that needs to be said in here he can say it and it's taken with respect because he's fighting with us. And quite honestly, he has taken heat for us before that he doesn't deserve. So we have faith in him and we trust him.
Q: What's the bigger problem?
A: Lying, plain and simple. We got bold-faced lied to by someone we're supposed to be able to trust. You can't come tell the players it was the coaches and tell the coaches it's the players and then come in and say something completely different..."
Sale also mentioned that he hasn't spoken with Kenny Williams since the initial meeting, and even agreed with the idea that this situation could hurt their team in terms of bringing in free agents.
"I don't see how it couldn't. I don't see why someone with a handful of offers on the table could look and say you know what, that's a mess I want to go into. No. It's unfortunately for everyone else involved because this ultimately comes down to the White Sox."
In addition to Sale's comments, we also learned that LaRoche did have a contractual agreement regarding Drake; and while Williams stated he simply asked the two to "dial it back" he apparently asked LaRoche to keep his son out of the clubhouse entirely.
Eaton says La Roche told him he did have contractual agreement for son to be in clubhouse.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 18, 2016
LaRoche said that Williams first asked him to scale back Drake’s presence and, "Later, I was told not to bring him to the ballpark at all."— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 18, 2016
This situation has unfortunately become a "he said, she said" affair, and while this won't cripple Chicago's efforts heading into 2016, it's obviously an unwelcome distraction, and something that should have been handled differently. However if there's one person who's come out of this unscathed, it's LaRoche.
He received well-wishes and admiration from players throughout the league, and in a statement released today, he didn't take any cheap-shots at the White Sox, even though nobody would have blamed him for doing so.
"Over the last five years, with both the Nationals and the White Sox, I have been given the opportunity to have my son with me in the clubhouse. It is a privilege I have greatly valued. I have never taken it for granted, and I feel an enormous amount of gratitude toward both of those organizations.
Though I clearly indicated to both teams the importance of having my son with me, I also made clear that if there was ever a moment when a teammate, coach or manager was made to feel uncomfortable, then I would immediately address it. I realize that this is their office and their career, and it would not be fair to the team if anybody in the clubhouse was unhappy with the situation..."
LaRoche goes on to say that Williams advised him to "significantly scale back the time" his son spent in the clubhouse, and later was told not to bring him at all. It was then that he chose to retire from the game of baseball, as he didn't want to spend what was "likely to be the last year of" his career without his son.
There are still questions that we'd love to get answers to, but it doesn't seem likely that we'll ever get to hear them. Would Williams have made an issue out of this had LaRoche performed well in 2015? Who were the players that reportedly had an issue with Drake being in the clubhouse? This is an unfortunate way for a career to come to an end, but LaRoche will always be remembered not just for his 12-year stay in the big leagues, but also for how he handled himself in what can only be described as an impossible situation.