It finally comes out: Several White Sox players complained about Drake LaRoche


When the Adam LaRoche news broke last week — which, from now on, we will refer to as DrakeGhazi — the claim was made that the process was set in motion by Ken Williams. Chris Sale and Adam Eaton unambiguously claimed in the media that no player on the White Sox’ roster had a problem with Drake LaRoche. Adam LaRoche said, in his statement, that his only issue was with Ken Williams, strongly implying the same. Even Ken Williams — at least publicly — said that limiting and/or barring Drake LaRoche’s access, which led to Adam LaRoche’s retirement, was his call.

As I said when this story came out, it didn’t add up. Sale and Eaton’s talk of the clubhouse being unified and Williams’ nodding about the “bonding” of the clubhouse over all of this didn’t make sense. Rather, I and many others surmised, this was likely a situation in which White Sox players — maybe several of them — complained to Ken Williams about Drake LaRoche’s presence and Ken Williams (a) was doing their bidding in limiting/barring Drake LaRoche’ and (b) took the heat for it so there was not a clubhouse rift. Occam’s Razor suggested that this was the more likely situation, no matter what the official line was.

Occam’s Razor did not fail us. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports:

. . . while the early evidence frames this as a Williams vs. LaRoche battle over clubhouse time for LaRoche’s son, multiple baseball officials with direct knowledge of the Adam LaRoche brouhaha told USA TODAY Sports a different tale.

Several players and staff members privately complained to White Sox management recently about the constant presence of LaRoche’s 14-year-old son, Drake, in the clubhouse.

While one may be tempted to say this doesn’t much matter now because LaRoche is gone, the fact is that the behavior of all of the parties in the past few days makes this a pretty big deal.

There was a heated team meeting about this on Tuesday. A meeting Chris Sale said presented a White Sox team entirely on the same page regarding the LaRoches. So much so that a boycott of Wednesday’s spring training game was considered. In the following days Sale accused Ken Williams of lying when he said that players or coaches complained and he hung up the LaRoches’ jerseys in his locker. The team kept Drake LaRoche’s nameplate up on his locker in his memory. Yesterday Adam Eaton talked about how Drake LaRoche was a team leader, for crying out loud.

Now Sale and Eaton — and, one presumes, some other players for whom they were speaking — know that what they initially believed was not true. They now know that there was not unanimous acceptance of Drake LaRoche. At the very best the Sale-Eaton contingent have to be embarrassed at how far out on the limb they got on this, portraying clubhouse ambivalence as clubhouse unity. More concerning, however, is that the Sale-Eaton contingent may now feel as though their teammates lied to them. Either by voicing disingenuous support for the LaRoches while they secretly complained or by keeping silent and allowing that impression to be created.

There will be some tempted to play the role of savvy cynic and say “eh, Sale and Eaton probably knew others complained and were just being dramatic.” I think that’s pretty unlikely. To say the things they said and to act in the manner they did — remember, they were talking about boycotting a game over this — while knowing that others in the clubhouse didn’t agree with them would itself be an act of clubhouse dissension. They’d be publicly rubbing their teammates’ noses in the matter and passive-aggressively calling them out. That’s not something players would do lightly or easily. No, I believe they took the stance that they did because they truly believed they were in an us (players) against him (Ken Williams) situation. I believe that they believed that no uniformed White Sox personnel had an issue with Drake LaRoche. Remember, when Ken Williams privately suggested that to Sale, Sale accused him of lying.

They have now found out they were wrong. Moreover, I presume that they will soon find out who, exactly, complained about Drake LaRoche. They will find out whose complaints set the ball in motion for the retirement of one of their favorite teammates and whose silence led them to, quite frankly, take some pretty ridiculous public positions on the matter. And then they’ll have to spend the next six and a half months working, traveling and living with them.

That ought to be fun.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Tuesday’s action

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 12:  Lucas Giolito #27 of the U.S. Team throws a pitch in the first inning against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at the Great American Ball Park on July 12, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Getcha popcorn ready. Nationals pitching prospect Lucas Giolito will make his major league debut on Tuesday night at home against the Mets in a 7:05 PM EDT start, opposing Matt Harvey.

Giolito, the consensus #1 prospect in baseball, has spent the season with Double-A Harrisburg. The 21-year-old is 5-3 with a 3.17 ERA and a 72/34 K/BB ratio in 71 innings spanning 14 starts. It’s his fifth season in professional baseball after the Nationals selected him in the first round, 16th overall, in the 2012 draft.

What can you expect to see from Giolito? He throws a fastball that sits in the mid- to high-90’s, occasionally touching 100 MPH. He complements that with a 12-to-6 curve and a change-up. The change-up is a solid step down in quality compared to his curve, but it’s worth having in the arsenal so hitters can’t cheat to catch up to his fastball.

The Nationals are relying on Giolito in an important series. The Nationals beat the Mets 11-4 on Monday night and the Marlins were off, so the Nationals lead the Fish by 3.5 games and the Mets by four games. The Nats and Mets play two more games in this series, then meet for four more in early July. They won’t meet up again until early September when they’ll round out the schedule with six final matchups. For the Mets, this series is a good opportunity to make up some ground. For the Nationals, they could start to pull away from the pack with a sweep, which could be aided by a solid debut by Giolito on Tuesday night.

The rest of Tuesday’s action…

Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels) @ New York Yankees (CC Sabathia), 7:05 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Chris Archer), 7:10 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester) @ Cincinnati Reds (John Lamb), 7:10 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber) @ Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler), 7:10 PM EDT

Miami Marlins (Adam Conley) @ Detroit Tigers (Mike Pelfrey), 7:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Julio Urias) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Chase Anderson), 8:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson) @ Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana), 8:10 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha) @ Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura), 8:15 PM EDT

Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ) @ Colorado Rockies (Eddie Butler), 8:40 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Jerad Eickhoff) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Zack Greinke), 9:40 PM EDT

Houston Astros (Scott Feldman) @ Los Angeles Angels (Tim Lincecum), 10:05 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez) @ San Diego Padres (Erik Johnson), 10:10 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Jon Niese) @ Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma), 10:10 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Kendall Graveman) @ San Francisco Giants (Albert Suarez), 10:15 PM EDT

Jon Jay has a broken right forearm

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 06:  Jon Jay #24 of the San Diego Padres hits the ball in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at PETCO Park on June 6, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
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Padres outfielder Jon Jay has a broken forearm, Darren Smith of San Diego’s Mighty 1090 AM reports. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune confirms the report. The club has recalled outfielder Alex Dickerson from Triple-A El Paso.

Jay suffered the injury on June 19, when he was hit by a pitch from Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez in the fourth inning. He initially stayed in the game to run the bases, then played the outfield in the ensuing inning. However, Travis Jankowski replaced him in the fifth.

It’s a tough blow for the Padres, as Jay has been productive, batting .296/.345/.407 with a league leading total of 24 doubles along with a pair of homers and 23 RBI in 291 plate appearances. There isn’t a known timetable yet, but Jay is likely going to miss a significant amount of time.

Dickerson has 10 plate appearances in the big leagues this year, earning two singles and a homer. With El Paso, he’s hitting .382/.425/.622 with 10 homers and 51 RBI in 241 plate appearances.

Padres claim Paul Clemens off waivers from the Marlins

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 20: Paul Clemens #50 of the Miami Marlins examines his hand after pitching during the first inning of the game against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park on June 20, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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The Padres have claimed pitcher Paul Clemens off waivers from the Marlins, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reports.

Clemens, 28, made a pair of starts for the Marlins last week, but the results weren’t good. He yielded seven runs on 11 hits and eight walks with six strikeouts in 10 innings. Five of those 11 hits were home runs. Clemens has spent most of the season with Triple-A New Orleans, where he posted a 4.30 ERA with a 66/25 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings.

It’s unclear exactly how the Padres plan to use Clemens, but he will at the very least provide starting rotation depth.

Nationals release Taylor Jordan to make roster space for Lucas Giolito

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 4:  Starter Taylor Jordan #38 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during their game at Miller Park on August 4, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mark Hirsch/Getty Images)
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The Nationals cleared space on the 40-man roster for top prospect Lucas Giolito by releasing Taylor Jordan, MASN’s Dan Kolko reports. The club also optioned reliever Rafael Martin to Triple-A Syracuse.

Jordan, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time last month. In parts of three seasons in the majors with the Nationals, Jordan compiled a 4.48 ERA with a 57/25 K/BB ratio in 94 1/3 innings. While Jordan’s mediocre control and inability to frequently miss bats will limit his potential, he can still be plenty valuable at the back of another team’s starting rotation once he’s healthy.

Giolito, 21, is making his major league debut on Tuesday night against the Mets. He has, to this point, spent the season with Double-A Harrisburg.