Why was the White Sox vice president the one to confront Adam LaRoche?
Regarding L'Affaire LaRoche, there is a larger issue:
What exactly is the White Sox's chain of command?
Why wasn't it manager Robin Ventura who asked Adam LaRoche to "dial it back" on his 14-year-old son's Drake presence around the team? Why wasn't it general manager Rick Hahn?
Why was executive vice president Ken Williams the one who spoke to LaRoche, and then -- according to sources -- faced the wrath of a large contingent of White Sox players in a clubhouse meeting?
As @jeffpassan said, Sale was vocal in meeting between #WhiteSox players and Williams on LaRoche. 1/2— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 17, 2016
The White Sox named Hahn the GM in Oct. 2012, with Williams promoted to executive vice president. Rival officials, however, say that the relationship between the two is uneasy, in part because at times Williams continues to exert his influence.
On the question of LaRoche, Hahn and Ventura did not agree with Williams' approach, a source said -- and the issue is particularly acute for Ventura, who is in the final year of his contract.
Dave Kaplan, a Chicago radio personality, reported that the White Sox agreed to allow Drake to be part of their clubhouse culture before signing Adam as a free agent prior to the 2015 season. That agreement, however, might only have been verbal, two sources said.
When I asked Williams about his relationship with Hahn on Thursday morning, he said, "Rick is one of my closest friends. We are cool and laugh a lot together every day."
Why did Williams take it upon himself to intervene with LaRoche?
"I oversee all of baseball operations here," Williams said. "I very rarely feel the need to step in, but it's my prerogative to do so when I feel the need.
"This had the potential to piss people off and I'm the best one to absorb the heat. Period. Rarely do I involve myself in clubhouse matters with the last being offensive music with lyrics that could offend the female reporters around. This would make the second time in maybe 12 years. That's not terribly intrusive."
Hahn, who did not initially respond to a request for comment, has worked for the White Sox since 2000. Williams joined the club in 1992.
Both are highly intelligent; Williams attended Stanford, while Hahn is a graduate of Michigan, Harvard Law School and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern. Williams played in the majors; Hahn does not have a playing background.
White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf could have resolved any issue within the team's power structure -- if he believed there was an issue -- by allowing Williams to interview for other jobs, including the Blue Jays' club presidency in 2014.
Reinsdorf, however, is not only fond of Williams, but also extremely loyal to his employees. Williams was the team's GM from 2000 to '12, and during that time the White Sox won their first World Series since 1917.