Adam LaRoche announces sudden retirement from White Sox due to personal issue

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White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche announced his sudden retirement today, citing an undisclosed personal issue.

Colleen Kane of the Chicago Trubune reports that LaRoche’s teammates “asked him to sleep on it, but he’s confident in the decision” to call it a career after a dozen seasons in the majors.

LaRoche is under contract for $13 million this season as part of a two-year, $25 million deal signed as a free agent last winter. If he’s indeed retiring LaRoche would be forfeiting that money. He struggled in 2015, hitting .207 with 12 homers and a .634 OPS in 127 games, but there have been several stories this spring about LaRoche and the White Sox expressing optimism in his ability to bounce back offensively at age 36.

While never an All-Star pick, LaRoche was a consistently above-average first baseman who hit .260 with 255 homers and a .798 OPS in 1,605 games for the Braves, Nationals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, and White Sox. He had nine different 20-homer seasons, including two years with more than 30 homers, and posted an OPS better than the MLB average in all but two years.

Starters? Openers? Who cares? It’s the lack of offense killing the Brewers

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The talk of Game 5 of the NLCS — and, indeed, the talk of the postseason so far — has been the Brewers’ creative use of their pitching staff. Indeed, Craig Counsell calling for Brandon Woodruff, and removing Miley from the game after just one batter and five pitches, stands as one of the more audacious acts of bullpenning in recent memory.

In light of that strategy, it was tempting to compare and contrast the Brewers’ approach to that of the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw gave up an early run and, as has so often been the case lately, didn’t look super sharp early. But as the game wore on he got stronger, his curve got more devastating and he turned in an ace-like performance, leaving after seven innings of work, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. The Brewers may have an army of pitchers they throw at you, but the Dodgers, on this night, had a Hulk.

That’s all a lot of fun, and it was a tempting narrative to grab a hold of, but you know what? It doesn’t matter a bit. The fact of the matter is that the Brewers have scored two runs in the last 17 innings between Games 4 and 5. Two runs, with one of them being an oh-by-the-way run with out in the ninth tonight. They’ve only scored three runs in their last 24 innings. They could have a college of coaches using a murder of pitchers and they’d still be staring at being down 3-2 like they are right now because the bats have gone cold.

The presumptive NL MVP, Christian Yelich, was 0-for-4 in Game 5 and is only 3-for-20 with three singles in the entire NLCS. Ryan Braun is 5-for-21. Lorenzo Cain is 6-for-24. Games 3 and 4 have, obviously, been the big problems for the Brewers. In those games the entire team is batting .168 with 26 strikeouts and they are 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Craig Counsell could go back in time, bring back Pete Vukovich, Rollie Fingers, Teddy Higuera, Moose Haas and Jim Slaton, use them all for an inning and two-thirds each and it wouldn’t matter if the Brewers can’t score. That’s the story of the series so far. No matter how much we might want to talk about the pitching shenanigans, that’s the only thing that really matters.