(CBS) Just more than two weeks before the start of the season, the White Sox have a divisive issue on their hands that has nothing to do with baseball.
In a surprising revelation, veteran Adam LaRoche informed the team Tuesday of his plan to retire, a decision that was spurred by executive vice president Kenny Williams requesting that LaRoche’s 14-year-old son, Drake, “dial back” the time he spent around the team and in the clubhouse, which was “100 percent” of the time this spring and often in 2015, Williams said.READ MORE: Mobile City Hall Bringing City Services To Little Village Tuesday
Williams’ request came after some White Sox players had previously voiced complaints about the frequency of Drake’s presence, sources told 670 The Score on Thursday. Earlier this spring, Williams had made a similar suggestion to LaRoche, but it was clear in recent times that he didn’t take the hint to dial back, a source told 670 The Score. Williams never made a rule banning Drake or children from the clubhouse — he just wanted to keep that time to a reasonable amount.
While some teammates privately supported Williams’ move, others have stood steadfastly by LaRoche, both publicly and privately.
In a Wednesday team meeting, ace left-hander Chris Sale “lit up” Williams over his handling of the LaRoche situation, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reported. Sale’s belief was that Williams isn’t around the players enough to fully understand the situation, Passan reported.READ MORE: Police Release Video Of Suspects Wanted In Death Of 18-Year-Old Azul De La Garza
An ESPN report that the White Sox players considered boycotting Wednesday’s spring game in show of support for LaRoche wasn’t incorrect but was also “exaggerated,” a source said. It was a thought among a few players that didn’t gain any more traction, the source said.
The White Sox had an off day Thursday and aren’t scheduled to meet with the media again until Friday. Williams declined comment when reached by the Chicago Tribune, and the team hasn’t otherwise commented.
LaRoche had a career-worst season in 2015, his first and only one in Chicago, batting .207 with 12 homers, 44 RBIs and a .634 OPS in 127 games. The White Sox went a disappointing 76-86.MORE NEWS: Chicago Police Officers Refusing To Report Vaccine Status Expected To Protest Outside Police Headquarters Tuesday
If LaRoche follows through and officially retires, the White Sox would be off the hook for his $13 million salary in 2016.