While the whole Adam LaRoche son in the locker room drama is interesting and casts a negative light on some people running the Chicago White Sox, it also leads to some interesting speculation about other unhappy players and the involvement of the Boston Red Sox in what would be a mega trade.
But first to LaRoche. The White Sox wanted him off the payroll all offseason, but couldn’t cut a deal with anyone. LaRoche and the money he was going to be paid in 2016 (not anymore if he actually stays retired) held the White Sox back from competing for bigger names on the outfielders market. That’s $13 million now they have, but without anyone good enough to spend on, unless they can make some sort of trade, although that would be very surprising.
The most prized asset on the White Sox is Chris Sale, who had a thing or two to say about the whole thing to executive VP Kenny Williams. And while it doesn’t seem Sale going after one of the most powerful people in the organization and probably the person behind the whole cap thing on LaRoche’s son Drake from showing up everyday in the clubhouse, it gave Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe an opportunity to fantasize about the Boston Red Sox acquiring Sale.
Abraham thinks sending Allan Craig while paying most of his $28 million salary over the next two seasons, along with young righty Anderson Espinoza and three other top-tier prospects will be enough. It probably won’t. Sale isn’t just a fantastic pitcher. He’s also on a fantastic contract: He makes just $21.5 million over the next two seasons, $12.5 million in 2018 and $13.5 million in 2019. He’ll be only 27 at the end of this month. He led the league in strikeouts last season, and has been the best starter in terms of strikeouts per nine innings over the last two seasons.
But maybe there’s a trade here somewhere without involving Sale. The White Sox do need a designated hitter, probably, without LaRoche. So maybe Craig can revive his career and the Red Sox come closer to getting rid of his contract, although not completely getting off the hook? The White Sox aren’t thrilled about having Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia splitting the role at the moment. Others who could come in handy are James Loney, who the Tampa Bay Rays have been trying to shop all offseason.
Meanwhile, while the White Sox should be thinking about adding another piece to the puzzle and maybe battle for a playoff spot in the difficult AL Central, they’re busy exposing the whole LaRoche-son-clubhouse situation.