"As you might expect, Adam's taking a deep breath amid everything that's gone on," said MLBPA executive director Tony Clark, per McCullough. "Adam's got his space to do what he needs to do with his family for the time being."
LaRoche retired Tuesday after White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams told the 36-year-old his son would have to spend less time around the team in the clubhouse, per Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Williams explained his stance in an interview with Rosenthal:
I asked Adam, said, 'Listen, our focus, our interest, our desire this year is to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity to focus on a daily basis on getting better. All I'm asking you to do with regard to bringing your kid to the ballpark is dial it back.' I don't think he should be here 100 percent of the time—and he has been here 100 percent, every day, in the clubhouse. I said that I don't even think he should be here 50 percent of the time. Figure it out, somewhere in between. We all think his kid is a great young man. I just felt it should not be every day, that's all. You tell me, where in this country can you bring your child to work every day?
However, CSN Chicago's David Kaplan reported LaRoche originally signed with the White Sox with the condition his 14-year-old son, Drake, would be able to spend time around the team:
This White Sox story is one of the most bizarre I have seen in a long time. Good sources tell me it was a condition of LaRoche signing here.— David Kaplan (@thekapman) March 17, 2016
I understand Kenny's point but excellent sources told me it was agreed to before LaRoche signed his contract by Rick and Robin. 100%.— David Kaplan (@thekapman) March 17, 2016
He earned $12 million in 2015 and was set to make $13 million in 2016. He could potentially have grounds for a grievance if the team failed to honor a part of his contract regarding his son's presence.
Whether or not LaRoche takes action against the White Sox, his departure has created a schism in the team. ESPN's Karl Ravech (via ESPN.com) reported players considered boycotting Wednesday's spring training game. According to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, starting pitcher Chris Sale was particularly upset:
Heard same as @thekapman: In a contentious meeting, Chris Sale absolutely lit up White Sox prez Kenny Williams over Adam LaRoche situation.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 17, 2016
The main thrust of Chris Sale's anger with Kenny Williams was that he's not around enough to understand the dynamics of White Sox clubhouse.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 17, 2016
Clark didn't directly criticize Chicago's handling of the situation but seemed to hint that there was a breakdown in communication, per McCullough: "I have found in all the years that I've played, that a level of respect and professionalism between the players and management often serves everyone best. When that comes into question, it raises issues during the course of the season."
What makes this particularly tough to untangle is that neither side appears to be entirely in the wrong. One can sympathize with LaRoche wanting to spend the most time he can with his son, especially considering how long an MLB season can be. Yet, the team's viewpoint is understandable as well.
Regardless, the circumstances around LaRoche's retirement have created a major distraction for the White Sox as they look to end their recent streak of losing seasons.