The White Sox considered boycotting yesterday’s game over the Adam LaRoche situation

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More details are emerging about the events leading up to Adam LaRoche’s retirement following Ken Williams’ request that he bring his son Drake to the clubhouse less often. The highlights:

As I said this morning, this whole situation doesn’t add up and none of these updates makes the math work any better. If Drake’s presence was part of the deal, Williams need not have worried about setting a precedent. He could simply tell future players “nope.” If every single person who actually works in the clubhouse — including manager Robin Ventura — was on board with this, there is no other reason for Williams to have intervened.

There are a couple of things which would explain all of this better:

  1. Ken Williams simply being on a power trip in which he decided, for no reason that affected him personally, to ask LaRoche to give up something he negotiated for in his contract and which Williams would have to know would lead to an emotional reaction from LaRoche; or
  2. A player or a few players complained to Williams anonymously about Drake LaRoche’s presence and Williams, in an effort to not have the clubhouse torn apart, decided to appease those players while taking all of the heat for the decision himself. Yes, there are reports that the “entire clubhouse” is on LaRoche’s side here, but no one is taking a poll of 25 guys. It’s possible that someone complained and then sat quietly in the meeting, not wanting to be responsible for the strife.

Another theory some of you have offered in comments is, I think, a pretty far-fetched one: that the White Sox were just trying to antagonize LaRoche into retiring to save $13 million. Sorry, can’t buy that one. There is no way they could be sure ANY course of action, up to and including treating him like George Costanza when he worked for Play Now, could be reasonably certain to make LaRoche retire. This isn’t sitcom or a some melodrama where the White Sox are scheming and sinister actors. I can’t really feature that one at all.

What I can feature are the very human motivations possessed by players not liking their clubhouse vibe but not wanting to create waves. I can feature the motivation of a senior executive with unassailable job security deciding to take the heat for something which other players or maybe a manager couldn’t take. While less likely, I could see that same executive acting unilaterally to feed a power trip, but that doesn’t square with what he should’ve known to be Adam LaRoche‘s contractual rights.

I said this morning that this all seems fishy. It seems even more fishy now.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.