5:25pm: LaRoche has officially filed his retirement papers with Major League Baseball and the Players Union, reports Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago (on Twitter).
2:33pm: Veteran White Sox slugger Adam LaRoche has issued a statement regarding his decision to leave the team, via TwitLonger. Notably, he does not state definitely that he has retired, calling it instead a “decision to walk away” from the White Sox.
That being said, LaRoche does seem to suggest that his playing career is over in discussing his “wonderful journey” and memories in the game. He also states that 2016 was “likely to be the last year of my career” even before the present circumstances arose.
Controversy has enveloped the club after LaRoche left camp days ago, with several players expressing serious concern and commentary coming in from all around the game. We rounded up all the latest earlier this morning, and owner Jerry Reinsdorf has since said that he will address the matter further only after meeting with players and club officials.
In addition to explaining his decision more generally, LaRoche makes several key points about the dispute with the club that led directly to his departure. First, he emphasized that bringing his son into the clubhouse was a critical topic of conversation that led to his free agent deal with Chicago:
“Prior to signing with the White Sox, my first question to the club concerned my son’s ability to be a part of the team. After some due diligence on the club’s part, we reached an agreement. The 2015 season presented no problems as far as Drake was concerned. (My bat and our record are another story!)”
LaRoche went on to explain that his decision came about as “the result of a fundamental disagreement between myself and [club executive VP] Ken Williams.” He explained that Williams “recently advised me to significantly scale back the time that my son spent in the clubhouse.” Thereafter, says LaRoche, he “was told not to bring [his son] to the ballpark at all.”
The 36-year-old first baseman/DH further discussed his viewpoint on his agreement with the organization and his ultimate departure, saying:
“Obviously, I expressed my displeasure toward this decision to alter the agreement we had reached before I signed with the White Sox. Upon doing so, I had to make a decision. Do I choose my teammates and my career? Or do I choose my family? The decision was easy, but in no way was it a reflection of how I feel about my teammates, manager, general manager or the club’s owner Jerry Reinsdorf.”
Williams has expressed a somewhat different version of events — you can read more here and here. The club certainly seems likely to have a differing view, also, as to whether any pre-signing discussion of family clubhouse access is a part of the bargained-for contract between the sides.
Notably, LaRoche’s statement does not provide any indication as to whether or when he’ll formally retire. And it doesn’t suggest whether or not he will pursue any kind of settlement or grievance action against the club. He entered the year with a $13MM guaranteed salary for the coming season, the second of two campaigns covered by his free agent deal.
This matter has also generated interest from other angles, of course, and those who are interested in learning more about LaRoche’s perspective should certainly give his statement a full read (along with all of the above-cited sources). Among other things, LaRoche expressed gratitude to the Nationals and White Sox for the “privilege” of having his son on hand at the ballpark. He also emphasized that he never had a situation arise where he was told that a “teammate, coach or manager was made to feel uncomfortable” by the presence of his son.