SUNDAY: The White Sox have issued a five-day suspension to Sale as a result of his Saturday behavior. He’ll be out of action through Wednesday.
“Chris has been suspended for violating team rules, for insubordination and for destroying team equipment,” Hahn stated. “While we all appreciate Chris’ talent and passion, there is a correct way and an incorrect way to express concerns about team rules and organizational expectations.”
Hahn added that the White Sox still believe Sale can be part of the solution for the franchise (Twitter link via Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago).
SATURDAY: The White Sox scratched superstar left-hander Chris Sale from his start Saturday in Detroit, which Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet was first to report (Twitter link). Given that Sale has begun generating significant trade buzz this week, speculation initially ran rampant that the White Sox had a deal in place to move the 27-year-old. That isn’t the case at the moment, though, as Chicago actually scratched Sale because of a pregame “clubhouse incident.”
“Chris Sale has been scratched from tonight’s scheduled start and sent home from the ballpark by the White Sox due to a clubhouse incident before the game,” senior vice president and general manager Rick Hahn said in a team-issued press release (Twitter link via Paul Skrbina of the Chicago Tribune). “The incident, which was non-physical in nature, currently is under further investigation by the club.”
Sale got into an altercation with front office staff, which began in “silly” fashion and blew up into a bigger argument, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (links here). Amazingly, the fight centered on Sale’s disdain for the White Sox’s throwback uniforms. Sale didn’t want to put them on, so he cut all of them up to prevent anyone from wearing them, relays Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports (via Twitter). FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal subsequently corroborated Stokke’s report, adding that Sale first requested Chicago not wear the uniforms because they’re uncomfortable. When the White Sox declined, Sale became livid because, in his view, the franchise decided to prioritize p.r. and jersey sales over winning (links to Twitter).
This isn’t the first off-the-wall dust-up of the year featuring Sale, who lashed out at team president Kenny Williams in March after first baseman/designated hitter Adam LaRoche retired because the White Sox requested that he bring his son, Drake, into the clubhouse less frequently. Saturday’s disagreement did not include Williams, per Rosenthal (Twitter link).
Sale’s issues aside, he’s unsurprisingly still drawing interest from elsewhere as the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline nears. The White Sox are continuing to discuss him with other teams, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). One team with interest in Sale is the rebuilding Braves, via reports from both Chris Cotillo of SB Nation and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported earlier Saturday that the White Sox want five top-caliber prospects for Sale, whose years-long track record of on-field brilliance has continued this season. Sale’s strikeout rate (8.73 per nine innings) is at its all-time lowest mark, but he continues to limit walks (1.96 per nine) and runs (3.18 ERA). He’s also controllable for extremely team-friendly dollar figures through 2019.