LaRoche balked at reducing son's presence

Executive VP Williams concerned about precedent being set

March 16th, 2016

The unexpected retirement of Adam LaRoche was brought about by a request from White Sox executive vice present Ken Williams to have LaRoche's 14-year-old son, Drake, become less of a presence with the team.

"It is true I asked Adam to dial it back," Williams confirmed that point in a phone conversation with on Wednesday. "I felt 100 percent was a bit much. So I asked that he dial it back. I said I think even 50 percent is a bit much.

"We are focused on trying to get everybody on the same page on some things with regards to preparing for this season. And I don't want that to be misconstrued as Drake was a distraction. I'm not saying that.

"You've been around this kid. He's a great kid. And everyone loves him," Williams said. "I just thought at this point in time, where we are right now, that 100 percent was a little much. So I asked him to dial it back."

LaRoche, a well-respected 36-year-old veteran who struggled mightily in his first year with the White Sox, made his decision.

"That's not something that he was interested in," Williams said. "And that's that."

Retirement papers were signed by LaRoche, who will give up $13 million in the second year of his two-year deal, but the White Sox have not yet sent them in to the league office, allowing LaRoche time to reconsider.

No specifics were provided by Williams in terms of his request to LaRoche, other than just dial it back.

"[His son] shouldn't be here every day," Williams said. "Again, we've been very -- you've seen it personally -- we've been very flexible over the years. Nothing has changed with regards to our allowance of kids. On the field, if they are old enough to go out and shag, I think it's great. There has to be some limitation."

Drake LaRoche basically served as the unofficial 26th man on the 2015 White Sox roster, having a locker at the Camelback Ranch facility and at U.S. Cellular Field. He did plenty of work to help the team and was a polite young man who was highly thought of by players and coaches alike.

Williams reiterated that this decision was not personal, but more about exercising a bit of organizational control.

"I respect the man and the father that [LaRoche] is and taking such a stance," Williams said. "The problem becomes -- and I know that not everyone is going to agree -- when you are in executive positions, whether it's this business or any other business, there are things you have to do to keep order and maintain consistency.

"If this is allowed at this level right now, how do I tell the next guy that he can't and then the next one after that? How do you manage that with any semblance of fairness? My viewpoint is then you really got problems."

Having Drake as some part of the team was not part of LaRoche's contract, per Williams. General manager Rick Hahn made it clear that the White Sox have a kid-friendly environment and Drake would be welcome.

As for LaRoche's potential replacement, Williams sounds as if he likes the options currently in camp.

"We think internally we've got an interesting opportunity to rotate the DH position," said Williams, focusing on the quartet of Melky Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia. "But Rick and the guys are still compiling lists and talking with scouts, and then will be able to put something in front of us at some point to discuss."