Union ‘monitoring’ LaRoche case, no decision on grievance

17 Comments

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) The head of the Major League Baseball players’ union said Saturday there’s no decision yet on whether to file a grievance on behalf of Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche.

The 36-year-old LaRoche retired on Tuesday after he said he was told by the team president to cut down on clubhouse access for his 14-year-old son.

“I think what you’ve seen is everyone trying to get a feel for what happened here and what tomorrow may look like,” union chief Tony Clark said after a meeting with San Diego Padres players at spring training. “All I can tell you is we’re monitoring what’s going on.”

Clark said he’s been in contact with LaRoche, but he deflected a question of whether the union knows if LaRoche had a verbal agreement with the White Sox to allow his son, Drake, to be around the team.

Clark did say the union is interested in separate rules and policies set by clubs, especially if they violate baseball’s labor contract.

“We are interested in those, particularly when we find out about them,” Clark said. “And we’re always concerned about any individual agreement violates the collective bargaining agreement as a whole. That’s where we end up engaging in conversations where we may not otherwise, when it has the potential to affect a much larger group.”

LaRoche posted a statement to his Twitter account on Friday saying that after he signed his two-year, $25 million deal with the White Sox before the 2015 season, “we reached an agreement” that would allow his son to spend time with the team.

LaRoche said while he hit just .207 with 12 homers last season, there was never a problem with his son being around the team.

But LaRoche said White Sox executive Kenny Williams recently told him to scale back the time his son spent in the clubhouse, and later “I was told told not to bring him to the ballpark at all.”

LaRoche instead chose to retire, walking away from $13 million owed this season.

White Sox ace Chris Sale and other teammates have come to LaRoche’s defense. Sale has hung Drake’s uniform outside his locker at spring training. Sale later accused Williams of lying to the team about the reasons for the move.

Clark acknowledged “there are strong opinions” about the situation, but said the union needed to gather more information.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

Getty Images
1 Comment

Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.