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.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.