In “Love It or Hate It,” “D and Davis Show” co-host Ken Davis breaks down the most controversial topics in the sports world.
Tonight, Chicago White Sox ace pitcher Chris Sale returns to the mound for the first time since he was suspended five games by the White Sox for getting SLASHY-SLASHY with the White Sox’s 1976 throwback jerseys last weekend.
Sale macheted a host of the available retro jerseys right before he was to take the mound this past Saturday versus the Detroit Tigers, his righteous fraying coming from a feeling that the throwback jerseys were uncomfortable and unorthodox, he felt the fit would alter his mechanics. In regards to being protective of his mechanics, I’d side with Sale as far as that being a valid reason for his anger. More on that in a little bit.
In a later explanation for his actions, Sale put into the air his belief that Sox management places revenue over winning. While talking to MLB.com on Monday, Sale expressed no remorse for his “cash over winning” statement.
“Do I regret standing up for what I believe in? Absolutely not,” Sale told writer Scott Merkin. “Do I regret saying business should not be first before winning? Absolutely not.”
Well, isn’t he special? Yes, I’m being sarcastic, but Sale is truly special, his pitching talent is elite, but his childish action’s speak to a lack of maturity.
Sale’s first outburst this season took place in spring training, after White Sox DH/1st baseman Adam LaRoche abruptly decided to retire due to a disagreement with management regarding the amount of access his son Drake was receiving to the clubhouse. Sale took umbrage with White Sox vice president Kenny Williams’ stance against LaRoche and went on to explain his belief that Williams lied to the players and coaches about who voiced their displeasure to management about LaRoche son’s unbridled access.
Sale said Williams told the players it was the coaches who wanted Drake out, while the coaches informed the players that Williams told them certain players complained. Messy, right? Wouldn’t be WHITE SOX baseball if it was clean now would it?
Regardless, Sale was being insubordinate and on top of being insubordinate he didn’t keep it in house. Sale told the media that Williams should have been exiting the organization and not LaRoche. Sale also expressed his displeasure with the fact that Williams had control of the situation instead of White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
Sale handled the LaRoche situation poorly, but if there was an agreement or handshake or pinky swear for Drake LaRoche to be a part of the team and spend time with his father it should have been honored, regardless of Papa LaRoche’s poor play since joining the team. Sale was also correct to point out that reluctant manager Ventura should have handled the matter since the clubhouse is his domain. In spite of however right he may have been then, the fissures in the Sale-White Sox relationship became at that point clearly visible.
Flash forward to last Saturday and Sale put himself in a position to send a larger message than “these jerseys are trash.” With the MLB trade deadline approaching this Monday August 1st — trade deadline is usually July 31, but the 31st falls on a Sunday this year — rumors of the White Sox listening to offers for a clearly frustrated Sale have become commonplace. I question the largest reason for said frustration, especially given that he may have brought that frustration upon himself.
Sale has said he wants to win a World Series with the White Sox, and I’m sure he does. But, he has to also look at his contract and the fact that he will only make upwards of $48 million dollars over the next four seasons, including this year, and think…FOH! Especially, if Sale has to play out his deal on a below-average team playing for a rudderless organization.
You may say $48 million is a lot of money and you’d be right, but look at David Price’s $217 deal with the Red Sox or Clayton Kershaw’s $215 deal with the Dodgers. You’re a fool if you think Sale, a top-5 pitcher in the MLB, doesn’t regret signing that team-friendly deal, a 5-year agreement with two club option years, back in 2013.
Think back to why Sale signed that deal in the first place. Back in 2012, Sale was on the verge of being moved into the bullpen due to arm soreness. There had been a feeling that Sale’s thin frame and arm angle could easily have him on his way to Tommy John surgery in the near future.
The Sox were worried then about prolonging the future of their asset. Sale went to Williams and told him he’d be fine and he wanted to remain a starter, the rest is history. The next season he really took off and signed that team-friendly deal to gain financial security. Its 2016 now and he has to be kicking himself at times wondering what he would have got if he had waited till his final year of arbitration or even hit the open market after that time.
Bidders have to be knocking down the door of the White Sox. ESPN’s Jim Bowden wrote an article this week (insider subscription needed) about five potential teams the Sox could trade Sale to in an effort to stock up on talent. We could be looking at something that approaches a best-case scenario if only because of a situation that may be becoming too toxic to control.
That said, the White Sox should not feel pressured to move Sale now when they can move him this upcoming off-season, when more teams can jump into the fray and drive up prices. By all means, the White Sox are in need of a rebuild. The first move in such a transformation is to let the condor known as Chris Sale fly. Fly, and be free.
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