White Sox

Chris Sale: White Sox ‘got bold-faced lied to’ on Adam LaRoche situation

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Chris Sale: White Sox ‘got bold-faced lied to’ on Adam LaRoche situation

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Sale addressed the media on Friday morning to talk about the surprising retirement of Adam LaRoche and Tuesday’s morning meeting. Here’s a transcript of what the four-time All-Star pitcher said.

Question: Can you talk about Tuesday’s meeting and your interaction with Kenny Williams?

Chris Sale: Came in, team meeting, just trying to find some common ground and clearly it didn’t get there. It’s just one of the things that kind of happens in the game. You’re not always going to see eye to eye with everyone you work with and everybody within the organization and you move on.

Q: Talked to Kenny since that meeting?

A: I have not.

Q: You said common ground — did he come down here saying ‘We’d like to compromise on the new policy’ or is it, ‘This is the new policy’?

A: Yeah well, Kenny said quite a few things, contradicting statements a couple times. He came to the players, said it was the coaches. Went to the coaches, said it was the players and then came in here and told us it was the owner. So, we’re not exactly — who it’s coming from, where it originated from. That’s why we’re still trying to figure out where it all came from.

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 this 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.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Upset White Sox players considered boycotting game after Adam LaRoche retirement]

Q: Were you pretty outspoken in the meeting?

A: It’s neither here nor there. That’s not the issue and even the story that everyone is reading isn’t the issue. We have a much bigger problem on our hands than Kenny coming in here and kicking out a kid and Roachy retiring. That’s the unfortunate part of all of this. But at the end of the day it wasn’t the right thing. There was no problem in here. We were rolling. We had a team coming together with new guys getting acquainted and playing well, no hiccups, nothing. We’re a steam engine going full steam ahead and kind of derailed it. We had some positive energy going. There was absolutely no problem in here whatsoever with anyone and he kind of created a problem.

Q: Can one meeting and an apology turn things around?

A: I mean, we’re still missing a teammate plain and simple. Like I said, there was no issue before and we’re still trying to find out what the truth is.

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. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen. Like I said, we’re not rebelling against the rules. It has nothing to do with the rules. It’s a much deeper issue and all this negative attention around so much positivity that was here before. We were rolling. We were having a great time. You guys have seen it. The drills are crisp, everything was clicking. And it just took someone to come in here and throw a wrench in the plans.

Q: Why have these (jerseys) up here?

A: Because Drake is honestly one of the best kids I have ever met. You can ask anybody, anybody, that has ever played with Adam. And I think that’s another part of the issue. We’re not talking about some guy and his kid. We’re talking about Adam LaRoche. I dare you to find something negative about that guy from anybody he has played with or come across. Same thing with Drake. This kid is wise beyond his years. He’s mature beyond his years and quite honestly he was a blast to have around. He was, for the lack of a better term, our team mascot. He brought just as much energy to this clubhouse as anybody and it’s a hard pill to swallow for someone outside of the clubhouse to tell us what’s going to happen. We don’t go up to his office and tell him how to do his job.

Q: There’s reports that players complained about (Drake) to some extent?

A: I believe if a player had a problem with it they would have come to Adam or at least taken it to Robin. I think Robin was the right person to handle this and he was handcuffed.

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

Q: What are your concerns about how this affects the team moving forward?

A: We’re missing two big pieces to our puzzle, plain and simple. I’m not going to sit here and say it’s going to be the main reason, but he’s definitely going to be missed and we’re not going to get him back.

Q: How frustrated are you that this happened at this point in time?

A: It’s extremely frustrating, especially when people tell you we’re here to win a championship and then stuff like this happens. If we’re truly here to win a championship and come together and play as a team and win as a team, these issues don’t come up. It’s just unfortunate. Somebody walked out those doors the other day and it was the wrong guy, plain and simple.

Q: Do you have more admiration now for Adam than you had even before?

A: No doubt. How can you not? Like I said, this is a bigger issue than being told that his son can’t be around and him walking away. I think that’s what everyone’s focus is. Everyone is focusing on the story that’s printed, but it’s a much deeper issue than that. I commend him, I stand behind him clearly 100 percent in his decision. Would I love to have him back? Absolutely. No doubt. And I think anybody in here would take him back in a heartbeat, would love to have him back in here. But at the same time, you have to respect a man that stands by his word and is not afraid to stand up in what he believes in.

Q: How do you move on as a team, organization?

A: We just keep trucking. We try to get back to where we were before this mess started. We were rolling. We had positive energy in here. Nobody saw anything as a distraction until all this happened. We just try to pick up the pieces, collect it all and put it back together and keep trucking.

Q: Can LaRoche come back?

A: I don’t know. I’m certainly staying optimistic about it.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Players supported Adam LaRoche, son in Tuesday meeting]

Q: Have you spoken to him? 

A: I have. I didn’t want to step on his toes clearly, but like I said, we would all love to have him back but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.

Q: The biggest issue is the trust issue and being told a lie from Kenny?

A: Yeah. When there’s a problem, you get to the source and find out what it is. We’ve been told three different stories. We don’t know what avenue to go down or who to believe from who it originated from.

Q: Three different stories as to where it originated?

A: Yeah. First it was the players that said something then it was the coaches that said something and now it’s the owner said something.

Q: And Kenny has given you all three stories?

A: Yes. Now we’re just as confused as you guys. You guys are looking at me like I have 17 eyes up here, but I’m not saying anything that isn’t the truth. I have no reason to. There’s no reason for me to sit here and lie about something that I witnessed and was a part of.

Q: Where does Kenny stand now with the guys in the clubhouse?

A: We don’t need to get into that. I’m not here to be disrespectful to anybody and call names. But I am here to state the facts and you guys got them.

Q: Hoping Mr. (Jerry) Reinsdorf might talk to you guys?

A: Yeah, I think that’s the ultimate goal is to talk to him and speak to someone with a level head and try to find some common ground, try to see where this came from. Jerry is a very understanding person and I think if we can get too him and speak to him and have an adult conversation. I think we’ll be able to figure some things out and iron out the creases.

Q: Why can’t a grievance be filed?

A: I don’t know anything about that. That’s really none of my concern. My concern is this team and the well-being of this team. I have a lot of time invested in this team, the whole blood, sweat and tears thing. I want to win and I think all of you guys know that and everyone in here knows that. With the things that are going on, that’s going to be a much harder task to accomplish, plain and simple.

Q: Will you continue to feel like a leader and somebody that has to do that for this team?

A: I believe so, yes. That’s the position I’m in. I have to speak for the people who don’t have voices. I have to speak for my teammates now. I have to speak for my teammates in the future. This is something that needs to be taken care of for the well being of the White Sox. Not just Adam. Not just me. This is something that could have a lasting impression for years to come and could affect future teams. I’m not a fan of that. If we are truly trying to win a championship, there’s no room for this kind of stuff.

Q: Can this hurt the team in free agency in the future?

A: 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 unfortunate for everyone else involved because this ultimately comes down to the White Sox. This is Rick (Hahn) and Robin and Jerry and the players and the coaching staff are probably going to get heat for something they don’t deserve. Rick, I truly believe is trying to build a winning team. We have a lot of respect for that guy. We have a lot of respect for Robin because he’s leading the charge. We just don’t have room for outside distractions.

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

Q: This will be looked at as a coup, Kenny versus the team, the team versus Kenny. Is that an accurate portrayal?

A: I don’t think anyone in here has a problem with anybody else in the organization.

Q: The bottom line is Adam was promised he could have Drake around?

A: It was in his contract just like anything else. I think they would have had a better job saying, ‘Hey you can bring your son, but you have to play for free this year.’ I think that would have gone over a little bit better. It was as much of a guarantee as anything else.

Q: Is it more difficult for you to do the things you need to do to get ready with this?

A: Absolutely not. I have a team I have to stand by. I still have a job to do. It’s not these guys fault. I’m not going to take it out on them. We all have the same idea. And we are trying to achieve that. I can’t reiterate enough. It’s not us rebelling against rules. It’s us rebelling against things that don’t have a place in the clubhouse.

Q: Different story if Adam hits 30 home runs last year?

A: That’s another thing too. For us, it just seems like him trying to make rules just to make rules. Unfortunately, it shook out the way it did. It’s unfortunate. It really is. We are trying to win, we really are. We have a good thing going on in here, we really do. We have great guys and a great team. We just have got something in the way.

Q: Would this impact the way you look at staying in the organization?

A: I’m going to be here for a while. I still have a lot of time left in this uniform. I’m not shying away from playing as hard as I can in this uniform. This doesn’t have anything to do with my teammates or the organization. I’m still going to fight to my last breath for this team and for my teammates. But on the flip side I have to fight for our rights too and what is right and what is wrong and what is truth and what is false.

Sox Drawer Q&A: Is this the White Sox 'Jon Lester' offseason?

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USA TODAY

Sox Drawer Q&A: Is this the White Sox 'Jon Lester' offseason?

Back for another round of questions here in the Sox Drawer. Let's go.

Q: Do you believe this is the Sox "Lester" offseason where they make a large investment in a player for the future? Or are we still one year away from seeing this? — @BCurley3

CG: That's a question many White Sox fans are wondering about. And by the "Lester" signing, I assume you are referring to the likes of Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. I'd like to think that if the White Sox have a desire to sign a big-name free agent, they will make every attempt to do it now and not wait for the 2020 free agents, even if it's coming off a 100-loss season. As general manager Rick Hahn put it in his season-ending press conference, "You can't always control when certain players become available. You can say in 2020 or 2021 we expect to be this, and we know we are going to need X. You can't look at the projected free agent and say that player will be available, much less that player will be a White Sox when the time comes." It might turn out that the White Sox don't sign that marquee free agent this offseason, but going off what Hahn said, I believe they will go all-in when their targeted "Jon Lester" is available.

Q: If you had your choice, would the White Sox sign Manny Machado or Nolan Arenado? — @Dehhmac_

CG: I'll take either. Arenado gets the edge defensively. Machado has the advantage offensively. One stat about Arenado that gives me some pause is his career home/away splits. At Coors Field, he's slashing .320/.374/.609. Away from Coors Field, he's at .263/.318/.469. He's still a great player, but his numbers are inflated due to the higher elevation in Denver. If they don't sign him to a contract extension this winter, I'm curious to see if the Rockies listen to trade offers during the Winter Meetings like the Orioles did with Machado last year. The Rockies are much more competitive than the Orioles, so they might decide to go for it one more time with Arenado. If not, a crazy Winter Meetings just got crazier.

Q: I have long expected this to be the offseason when the Sox start signing free agents. However, lately, I've heard about possible big-name trade potentials. Do you expect trades this early in the rebuild or mainly acquisition through free agency? — @ToddHertz

CG: At some point, the White Sox will probably dip into their farm system to acquire major league upgrades where they see fit. Because there were so many injuries to prospects last season, I'm not sure they've seen enough to know exactly what they have to make those kind trades just yet. However, the one position in the minors where they seem very deep right now is in the outfield. That could be an area they could subtract from to add elsewhere. I think the White Sox timed their rebuild very well with free agency. Last year's lackluster free-agent class was a great time to be on the sidelines. The next two winters will have much better talent available. The White Sox don't have much on the books and will be in a good financial position to make upgrades.

Q: After Eloy comes up in April who's the next guy in waiting and when does he come up? —  @franknacchio19

CG: With two open spots in the rotation, we could see a few prospects compete for starting jobs in spring training. Jordan Guerrero, Jordan Stephens and Spencer Adams are possibilities. All three of them finished the season at Charlotte and could be close to knocking on the door. The next big name after that would seemingly be Dylan Cease, who if he continues to pitch like he did this past season will probably be on the Michael Kopech timeline to the majors, and Kopech came up in August.

Q: If the rumors are true and the Diamondbacks dismantle their roster, which player on their roster makes sense for this White Sox team long term? —  @mr_zablocki

Q: Who would you hypothetically trade for Goldshmidt? — @DaRealScaletta​​​​​​​

CG: Looking at the Diamondbacks' roster, there aren't many natural fits with the White Sox rebuild. Where's the All-Star third baseman on a rebuilding team with a four-year, team-friendly contract? I like Zack Greinke, but he's going to be 35-years-old and has three years and $104 million left on his contract. A 27-year-old Robbie Ray would be solid, but he's under team control for only two more years. Paul Goldschmidt is an all-world first baseman with three Gold Gloves, but he's a free agent after next season. Depending on what the White Sox do with Jose Abreu, who also has one year left on his contract, maybe they go after Goldschmidt next offseason if they don't re-sign Abreu.

Q: Tell a Yolmer story. — @NJBooth20

CG: Yolmer was wearing this cool T-shirt in the clubhouse this past season. On the front, it said "play hard" with a photo of him making Mickey Mouse ears. On the back it said "have fun," and there's the photo of him pouring Gatorade all over himself. I asked him if I could have one of those T-shirts. He said, "50 dollars." I countered with, "How about 30?" With perfect comedic timing, Yolmer came back with, "Make it 10." He might not be the best bargainer in the world, but Yolmer Sanchez is definitely one of the funniest people around.

Q: Why did Nagy run the ball on 3rd and 4?? — @rypie182​​​​​​​

CG: Not sure.

Q: Can I leave a voicemail? Too drunk to tweet. — @HurriKayne26​​​​​​​

CG: Rough Bears game.

Q: Who will be the biggest surprise and/or the greatest improvement for next season's team? — @nicklicious33​​​​​​​

CG: Good question. If he's able to come back, I can think of one person in particular who would be quite an incredible surprise in 2019. That's Danny Farquhar. At home in California recovering from his near-death brain aneurysm, Farquhar is training with the hopes of pitching in the majors again, possibly as soon as 2019. I wouldn't put it past him. He's a special person who has been defying the odds since that horrific night in April. It would be great to see!

Thanks again for all of your questions. We'll do it again next week.

Sorry, White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

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USA TODAY

Sorry, White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

For the biggest dreamers among the White Sox faithful, here's how this offseason might be playing out.

Rick Hahn said the team will make some additions to the pitching staff. So for those dreamers, it's a rush to the top of the list of free-agent starting pitchers, right? Why not hook one of the biggest fish in the pond?

The top of that list looks like this: Clayton Kershaw (should he choose to opt out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and seek a new, more lucrative one), Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin. Some might even have those last two names flipped, with Corbin, coming off an All-Star season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, second only to one of the best to ever throw a baseball.

The White Sox might not be capable of outbidding baseball's biggest spenders, and that's without even mentioning that they might simply not be looking to ink a hurler to a long-term contract. After all, that's what all those talented prospects are for, right? Assembling the rotation of the future? Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are all already part of the 2019 staff. Michael Kopech, when he's done recovering from Tommy John surgery, will join them in 2020. And Dylan Cease was just named MLB Pipeline's minor league pitcher of the year. With all that in mind, any offseason additions to the rotation for 2019 might simply be one-year fill-ins.

But fans often like to dream big, and a lot of them have Corbin on their wish list.

That's not surprising when you look at his numbers. He threw 200 innings last season and struck out 246 batters while finishing with a 3.15 ERA, those last two numbers the best of his six-year big league career. He's 29 years old and a long-term deal would figure to have him in the starting rotation as the White Sox plan to shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

Just one problem: There's plenty of belief out there that Corbin's destination this winter has already been booked.

This has been a talking point for a while now, as the Yankees tried to bring Corbin to the Bronx via trade last offseason. They're expected to try to do so again, this time via free agency, as they've got a ton of money to spend. Corbin was quoted in the Nightengale story from April saying: "It would definitely be great to play there. I grew up a Yankee fan."

Sorry to burst your bubbles, White Sox fans. But don't blame me. Blame the Yankees, which seems to be becoming a frequent refrain. If Didi Gregorius' elbow injury means Manny Machado ends up in the Bronx this winter, too, White Sox fans might drop the Cubs as Public Enemy No. 1.

The White Sox have enough hurdles to clear in any pursuit of one of the game's top free agents: They have to compete with baseball's traditional big spenders, and they have to try and beat win-now pitches with a pitch of planned — though not yet arrived — long-term success. It's not like that hasn't been a winning battle before, though, as the rebuilding Cubs got Jon Lester to believe in their future and brought him in to help make their transition from rebuild to championship contention.

But throw in the hurdle of a history between a player and another team, and it makes it an even harder job.

The White Sox will be making some additions this offseason, though they might not be the ones fans are dreaming about. But not landing the winter's biggest fish doesn't mean the organization's biggest, most important dream of building a perennial contender on the South Side is going anywhere.