Barring a change of heart, White Sox veteran Adam LaRoche is taking his bat and glove — and his son — and heading home.
LaRoche, the designated hitter and first baseman, appears poised to retire, and give up the $13 million he would have earned this season, because the White Sox recently asked him to dramatically decrease the frequency of his 14-year-old son Drake’s visits to the clubhouse.
Ken Williams, the White Sox president, confirmed this to The Post in a text message on Wednesday. Earlier Wednesday, Williams told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that he said to the 36-year-old LaRoche, “All I’m asking you to do with regard to bringing your kid to the ballpark is dial it back.”
Williams continued, “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?”
LaRoche’s representatives at Relativity Baseball didn’t return requests for comment. On Tuesday, when word first broke of LaRoche’s retirement, LaRoche tweeted the following:
Though the White Sox can’t enjoy being thrust in the spotlight over such an emotional issue, they also can’t be terribly disappointed if LaRoche follows through and retires. After signing a two-year, $25 million contract with the Chisox, leaving the Nationals and his unofficial role of Mets-killer, LaRoche put up a miserable .207/.293/.340 slash line with the White Sox last season, knocking just 12 home runs in 429 at-bats. If he gives up his entire $13 million paycheck — he has made $71.8 million over the course of his career, according to baseball-reference.com — it will provide the White Sox with a windfall of financial flexibility as well as a spot in the lineup to rotate in younger, more productive hitters such as former Yankee Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia.
MLB.com reported LaRoche has filled out his retirement papers and the White Sox, in asking LaRoche to reconsider, haven’t submitted the paperwork to Major League Baseball’s central office.
Drake LaRoche accompanied his father to the White Sox’s visit to Yankee Stadium last Sept. 24-27, which was standard operating procedure. According to a Chicago Tribune profile of the LaRoches that ran in June, Drake and his sister Montana have an arrangement with their school in Kansas by which the children take weeks of homework with them when they’re on the road. Drake would spend time with his father at his locker then shag fly balls during the team’s batting practice.
Veteran pitcher Blaine Boyer, a former Met and friend of LaRoche’s, told Rosenthal, “I honestly think this is between good and evil. I know which side Adam lives on.”
“I can’t disagree with what [Boyer] said about Adam as a person,” Williams responded to FOX Sports. “But I take exception to the ‘evil’ part.”
Williams told MLB.com, “”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.”