"I want to sleep on it again," LaRoche said, per Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. "I didn’t come in yesterday because I wanted to make sure it was the right move and make an emotional decision. I’m confident it is. Out of my respect for these guys and [general manager Rick Hahn] they asked me to give it a day or two to confirm."
"You have to be respectful of [LaRoche], understand his perspective and where he’s coming from," Hahn explained, per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. "We’ll make adjustments and move on."
Bruce Levine of WSCR-AM reported Friday, per a source, that LaRoche had filed his retirement papers.
The timing of his decision is somewhat surprising since he's owed $13 million for the 2016 season. However, he's coming off one of the worst seasons in his MLB career. In 127 games for the White Sox, LaRoche had a .207/.293/.340 slash line with 12 home runs and 44 runs batted in.
The Washington Post's James Wagner also posited LaRoche may be looking forward to life after baseball:
LaRoche always struck me as a guy who was naturally good at baseball but also had other interests. Used to say his kids wanted him home more— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 15, 2016
He has been consistent over his 12 years in the league. According to FanGraphs, he finished with a negative WAR just three times, and his 162-game averages (.260 BA, 26 home runs and 89 RBIs) illustrate his impressive work at the plate.
LaRoche also collected a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award with the Washington Nationals in 2012:
If LaRoche makes his retirement final, the White Sox will have to find a new designated hitter. Chicago would have some money to spend by getting back his 2016 salary, but almost all of the top free agents from this offseason have already found homes.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman threw out an internal replacement for LaRoche in the lineup:
With LaRoche gone, #Whitesox could use DH to see if can get Avisail Garcia’s bat going while taking his iffy glove off field.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 15, 2016
Hahn said the White Sox "won't leave any stone unturned if we need to go outside org to get better. We haven't spent lot of time going thru alternatives," per Van Schouwen. "It opens up possibility that we have more flexibility in coming weeks or months up to deadline," Hahn said of having $13 million.
In addition to outfielder Avisail Garcia, catcher Dioner Navarro and infielder Tyler Saladino could be options for manager Robin Ventura early in the season. None of the three would be an optimal choice, though, unless Garcia makes a big jump in 2016.
Since he has newfound space available in the payroll, Hahn might be better off trying to work a deal to acquire a proven hitter to round out his squad.
Stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.