White Sox

Report: Upset White Sox players considered boycotting game after Adam LaRoche retirement

adamlarocheboycottnew.png

Report: Upset White Sox players considered boycotting game after Adam LaRoche retirement

PHOENIX — Multiple reports suggest that White Sox players considered a boycott of Tuesday’s game after Adam LaRoche announced his sudden retirement. Players were reportedly so upset by the front office’s request for a reduced number of appearances by LaRoche’s son, Drake, that they considered sitting out against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Though one White Sox player didn’t confirm or deny the reports on Thursday, he said “lots of actions were discussed.” Ultimately, White Sox players didn’t participate in their regularly scheduled workout before Tuesday’s game as a form of protest. But they did play and went on to beat the Dodgers 8-6. The White Sox — who are off on Thursday — also played on Wednesday, losing to the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-2.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Adam LaRoche retired after White Sox asked him to limit son's time with team]

“We were backing Adam in the whole aspect,” outfielder Adam Eaton said Wednesday. “That’s why we didn’t stretch. 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 what it is, a tough little go at it, but I respect his decision.”

Executive vice president Kenny Williams also confirmed a passionate response from players during LaRoche’s announcement. Multiple reports have suggested Chris Sale — who is set to make his 2016 Cactus League debut on Saturday — was one of those players most vocal about his concerns.

Williams said Wednesday he knew his decision might be an unpopular one in the clubhouse.

He said he appreciates how players rallied together in support of LaRoche.

“I really have felt really good about is we felt that they were banding together,” Williams said. “But the way that they banded together to try to protect this young man, and their teammate and everything — I told them, it’s admirable and I love the bond that’s been created.”

Williams said the club asked LaRoche to reduce the number of appearances by his son to below 50 percent. While Drake LaRoche isn’t around the White Sox 100 percent of the time, he’s often in the clubhouse and even has his own stall and jersey.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

The longtime club exec insisted the move isn’t related to the younger LaRoche’s behavior, but is rather intended to set a precedent for future players. Williams said Adam LaRoche’s contract includes no language about his son’s involvement with the team. However, CSN’s David Kaplan has reported LaRoche had a verbal agreement in place with the White Sox to allow his son to be around the club.

LaRoche hasn’t addressed the topic since Tuesday when he told reporters from The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune he would retire and was confident in his decision even though he agreed to sleep on it for a few days. Later that day, LaRoche sent out a Tweet with “#FamilyFirst” included in the message. 

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

0218-dylan-covey.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

0218-jose-abreu.jpg
USA TODAY

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sunday marked the first surprise of White Sox spring training, courtesy of first baseman Jose Abreu.

“This year, I’m going to try to steal more bases,” Abreu said through a translator.

This might have sounded like a joke, but Abreu was completely serious.

On paper, he’s not exactly Rickey Henderson. In 614 career games, Abreu has only six stolen bases. However, the slimmed-down first baseman does have some sneaky speed. His six triples last season ranked third in the American League. So there are some wheels to work with.

“I like the challenge. I think that’s a good challenge for me. I’m ready for it,” Abreu said.

How many steals are we talking about? A reporter asked sarcastically if a 30-30 season is in the offing? Abreu didn’t exactly shoot down the possibility.

“Who knows? When you fill your mind with positive things, maybe you can accomplish them,” Abreu said. “The mind of a human being works in a lot of different ways. If you fill your mind with good things, good things are going to happen.”

The morning began with Abreu walking to the hitting cages with his Cuban compadres Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, who the White Sox signed last summer. He held his first workout on Sunday. At the White Sox hitters camp last month, Moncada took Robert under his wing, showing him the ropes, even telling Ricky Renteria, “I got him.”

But Sunday, Abreu was in charge, holding court with the three of them in the cage. Abreu watched closely as Robert hit off a tee, giving him pointers about his swing.

“I just like to help people,” Abreu said. “When I started to play at 16 in Cuba, I had a lot people who hounded me to get better. At the same point, I want to give back things that I’ve learned and pass that along to other people. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not expecting anything else. I’m just glad to help them and get them better.”

What kind of advice has he passed along to Robert?

“Since I came to this country, I learned quickly three keys to be a success: Be disciplined, work hard and always be on time. If you apply those three keys, I think you’re going to be good. Those are the three keys I’m trying to teach the new kids, the young guys,” Abreu said.

Abreu lost about 10 pounds during the offseason. He said he hopes to learn more English in 2018. He also arrived at spring training sporting a scruffy beard which he grew while he was in Cuba so he “could be incongnito.”

Abreu likes his new look. Moncada thinks he should shave it off.

“If the organization doesn’t say anything, I’m just going to keep it,” Abreu said.

Well, so much for that.

Moments after Abreu spoke with the media, Renteria told reporters that Abreu will have to “clean it up a bit.”

The two will find a compromise. Come to think of it, maybe Abreu and the White Sox should do the same about a contract extension in the near future.

Yes, he’ll be 33 when his contract expires in two years, but there have been no signs of a decline with his performance. Instead, Abreu is only getting better both offensively and defensively.

Heck, now he wants to steal bases, too.

After Renteria, Abreu is the leader of this team. He commands ultimate respect inside the clubhouse. He’s become another coach to Moncada, Robert and others. He’s a huge brick in the present and too big of an influence and cornerstone to not have around in the future.

“I hope to play my entire career in the majors with the White Sox,” Abreu said Sunday. “But I can’t control that.”

At some point, a decision will have to be made whether to keep Abreu or trade him. In the meantime, ask yourself this question: What will bring more value to the White Sox, getting a high-end prospect or two in return not knowing if they’ll ever succeed in the majors? Or keeping your best player, the heart and soul of your team, allowing him to show your future stars the way while they’re developing in the major leagues?

Seems like an easy decision to me.