Adam LaRoche would rather kick it with his boy than play for the Chicago White Sox
Earlier this week, Adam LaRoche shocked the Chicago White Sox by abruptly announcing his retirement from baseball. The timing of this move was particularly interesting, as it’s the middle of spring training and he’s also walking away from $13 million. Even when you consider that he didn’t exactly have a glorious 2015 season—he hit .207/.293/.340 with a TAv of .233, same as Tyson Ross—and was entering his age-36 season on a bit of a slow start due to health concern, it was hard to see why LaRoche would choose to walk away from so much money and a starting job.
However, it turns out that you really can’t put a price on family affairs. On Wednesday morning, it was revealed that White Sox president Kenny Williams told him he should stop bringing his son Drake to the clubhouse every day. According to what Williams told Ken Rosenthal, Drake was in the White Sox’s clubhouse “100 percent of the time,” and last season there were reports of Drake bringing “weeks of homework” when the team went on the road. The son became a clubhouse fixture, and while this was apparently okay when LaRoche was a member of the Washington Nationals, the White Sox front office wasn’t fine with it. So: retirement.
It’s easy to admire LaRoche choosing to be with his family over a bunch of money and a pretty awkward situation. It's also easy to understand Williams' position—though, apparently, some White Sox players were actually in favor of Drake being in the clubhouse. This was likely done to make sure that this didn’t become a standard for other players who wanted to bring their kids to work with them in the future. Kenny Williams and the White Sox look like the bad guys in this situation, but—well, no, that's pretty much how it'll be remembered.
New York Mets release Ruben Tejada due to crowded infield situation
After spending the better part of his first six seasons as a major leaguer with the Mets, Ruben Tejada’s time in the Big Apple has come to a close. The Mets released the 26-year-old shortstop after he cleared waivers on Wednesday afternoon.
Tejada’s tenure in New York had its ups and downs, as he went from one of their most promising prospects to roughly league-average player, with seasons of 2.9 WARP and 1.9 WARP in 2014 and 2015, respectively. However, with the shortstop coming off of a broken leg suffered during the Utley Slide, and with the Mets signing infielders Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker, it was clear that Tejada’s hold on a regular role was tenuous at best.
This isn’t the end of the road for Tejada, bearish PECOTA projection or not. He’s proven that he can be a useful player on a good team, and the most obvious candidate for the next good team to use him is the Cardinals. This space has already been used to speculate on a short-term replacement for the injured Jhonny Peralta, and Tejada could definitely be a candidate to come in and do a useful job while Peralta recovers from injury. Plus, the Cardinals wouldn’t have to trade any of their assets to pick up this particular replacement. It’s safe to say the Cardinals won’t be the only team that will be interested in Tejada’s services, so he should be able to at least drum up some leverage for himself.
MLB offers helmet-cap hybrid to Johnny Cueto
On Monday evening, Giants starter Johnny Cueto experienced one of the most frightening moments in sports when he got hit with a comebacker. Fortunately, Cueto only came away from the situation with a bruise and actually stayed in the game to pitch three more innings.
In the wake of the incident, MLB has decided that now is as good a time as any to pitch Cueto on wearing their new helmet-cap hybrid hats that they’ve been testing with a few pitchers this spring. So far, the league hasn’t received any major complaints about the headgear from the pitchers who have tried it out, though none has decided to wear the hybrid hat during the regular season.
However, if anybody would be open to wearing the hybrid hat at this point, maybe it’s Cueto. “Everything’s fine” with the Giants’ marquee pitching signing from the offseason, and even though there’s but a small chance of this happening again, nothing like a scare to motivate a player.