Today could have been a day for the White Sox to move forward from the Adam LaRoche saga. Finalizing his decision to retire from baseball. Setting aside differences, at least for now. Putting priorities in order to take the field in an exhibition game versus the Chicago Cubs. Letting us continue our discussions from last week about spring stuff like John Danks, the evolution of Avisail Garcia's swing, and who will become the 25th man.
Instead, the White Sox unlocked a new level of awkwardness by making a dumb situation even dumber.
Chris Sale spent 12 minutes in front of his locker speaking with reporters about his feelings on LaRoche retiring and his views on how Kenny Williams handled the situation. Apparently, he picked up where he left off during the closed-door meeting on Wednesday. The first things we heard -- Sale said he believed that Williams lied to the players about who was responsible for LaRoche, and that the players are "rebelling against BS, not the rules."
Standing out from the rest was this line about Williams:
Chris Sale: The wrong guys walked out of that room, meaning teammate Adam LaRoche, and not #WhiteSox VP Ken Williams— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 18, 2016
That comes off as Sale wanting Williams to be the one leaving Chicago for good, and not LaRoche. Or it could mean the clubhouse, but Sale spent most of his time shooting for maximum effect.
Adam Eaton stated that he, along with Sale, will be meeting with Jerry Reinsdorf in the next few days to speak about this incident. If Sale hopes the resolution is Reinsdorf canning Williams -- or at the very least banning him from the clubhouse -- Sale could be in for a bit of a surprise. Everyone that follows the Sox is aware of how loyal Reinsdorf is to his employees and Williams is toward the top of that list. As vice president of baseball operations, Williams has every right and responsibility to check in on the clubhouse from time to time. He even mentioned it yesterday to Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal, saying he doesn't like to be intrusive, and hasn't been during his tenure.
The worst possible outcome of the meeting with Reinsdorf is Sale to throw down his own ultimatum; either he goes or I go. That would be quite extreme and possibly farfetched, but at this stage, has the players' reaction to LaRoche leaving been reasonable? This was a squad that was threatening to not only boycott Wednesday's game, but also today's game against the Cubs.
This clubhouse has reached meltdown levels and I'm not sure what is the best resolution moving forward. Would a venting session with Reinsdorf calm Sale and his teammates down to a point they can coexist with Williams? Or would it be truly best for both parties if arrangements were made that involved trading players? Deciding now to trade Sale would be borderline insane and destructive to the team's chances in 2016. But, if the players continue bickering with front office management during the course of 2016, this season very well could be a lost cause before a single game is played.
Resolution is needed on this issue immediately, but in typical White Sox fashion, it will continue over the weekend and into next week when word is released after the meeting with Reinsdorf. All Sox fans can hope for heading into the weekend is that a Pissed Sale doesn't crank up the intensity and hurt himself in his first Spring Training start on Saturday. He believes that this ordeal won't impact his performance. We shall see, but I'm not holding my breath. No one within the White Sox organization has the benefit of the doubt.
UPDATE: LaRoche just released a statement:
Given the suddenness of my departure and the stir it has caused in both the media and the clubhouse, I feel (cont) https://t.co/xldpeJb1Ay— Adam LaRoche (@e3laroche) March 18, 2016